Wildlife thrives as weather takes a turn back towards more traditional patterns

British wildlife has benefited following the first traditional year of weather for a generation, scientists have revealed.

The coldest winter for more than 30 years was followed by a delayed, sunny spring and warm, wet summer, which led to many species enjoying a bumper year, the National Trust said.

Despite 2010 starting and ending with much of the country under snow, threatened species such as the puffin and the rare heath fritillary butterfly enjoyed successful breeding seasons.

The warm spring enabled insects to thrive which in turn resulted in a bumper berry crop this autumn.

Wildlife has flourished because weather patterns have behaved more or less as they should, scientists said.

National Trust nature conservation adviser, Matthew Oates said: "For the first time in a generation we have experienced a traditional year of weather and our wildlife has mostly responded favourably.

"A cold winter enabled wildlife to hibernate properly while a warm spring and early summer created ideal conditions for insects and led to bumper autumn berry crops in our orchards, woods and hedgerows."

He said that very early springs can prove disastrous for species who breed too early making their offspring susceptible to unexpected cold or wet snaps later in the season.