LAST year’s fine summer, which came after a series of washouts, has helped turn around the fortunes of our wildlife, experts say.

The National Trust, which owns several historic sites in the Vale and the Cotswolds, says the hot July and August after six poor summers has boosted populations of several species.

Matthew Oates, specialist on nature and wildlife for the National Trust, said insects including bees and butterflies had thrived in particular this year after being “very scarce” in 2012.

“We were more than overdue a good summer, and eventually we got a real cracker, although it kicked in after the slowest of possible starts,” he said. “The way our butterflies and other sunloving insects bounced back in July was utterly amazing, showing nature’s powers of recovery at their best. Many birds and mammals also recovered well from the cold late spring.

“Importantly, we have seen more winners than losers in our wildlife year, which is a tremendous result, considering where we were last year.”

Thousands of visitors have enjoyed the abundance of wildlife at the National Trust’s properties including the Capability Brown parklands at Croome Court, near Pershore, and the gardens of Snowshill Manor and Hidcote in the Cotswolds.

And Mr Oates says 2014 is looking set to offer them more of the same.

“2013 made itself into one of the most remarkable wildlife years in living memory,” he said.

“For most specialist naturalists, such as birders and butterflyers it became deeply memorable, because naturalists, like many other people, collect memories.

“Great wildlife experiences make special places extra special. Best of all, this year has set up 2014 very nicely.”