Whitehaven residents have a chance to get close to some rarely-seen wildlife thanks to the National Trust.

On Saturday, August 31, the Whitehaven community will have the chance to start their day with an early-morning wildlife encounter.

A moth trap will be set up the night before, and the moths will be available for people to view before they are released back into the wild.

The 'Release the Moths!' event is set to take place near the Haig Pit car park, and will run from 7:30am – 9am, with anyone and everyone invited.

The moths' sleeping patterns won't disrupted by their guests, as the early time of the event allows the nocturnal animals to behave as they usually would.

Chris Gomersall, the National Trust ranger for the Whitehaven Coast, will open the moth trap inside a tent, allowing visitors to see the creatures before they are placed back into shady corners of the surrounding vegetation, where they'll be protected from birds.

Last year's moth-trapping day caught 250 different moths from 99 different species, with findings from recent years including the first Cumbrian recorded sighting of the striking black and white Triple-Stripe Piercer moth.

Chris explained why he thinks the moths are worth getting up early for, and said: "Opening the moth trap sometimes strikes me like it's a portal into a parallel universe. These amazing creatures are here all the time without us seeing them."

He added: "Moths are as beautiful as butterflies, with incredibly intricate patterns on their wings. But they're not as well-known simply because we don't normally see them. This is an opportunity for people to see the hidden wildlife that lives on our doorstep up close and in detail."

The National Trust has recently celebrated 10 years of its work to improve conditions for wildlife and for people along the Whitehaven Coast, recognised by an award from the Land Trust earlier this year.

"The way we've managed the land on the coast will definitely have made a difference," said Chris. "The fact that there's a mosaic of different habitats, from coastal heather to scrub, provides year-round food sources for the moths and caterpillars, with areas where we leave the grass long to help moths and larvae shelter over the winter. Then the flower-rich meadows which we care for come into bloom to provide a vital boost of nectar just when the moths are hatching out of their chrysalises."

Chris continued: "Of course, we're dealing with the natural world, which is often unpredictable, and it depends on the weather. Sometimes when you set a moth trap you get hundreds of moths; sometimes you only get a handful. Not knowing what you're going to find is part of the excitement."

The 'Release the Moths!' event is free to attend, and more details can be found at www.facebook.com/whitehavencoast.