A NEW mural celebrating conservation has been unveiled at Regent Circus in the town centre.

The painting – in front of the former Morrisons store – shows marsh fritillary butterfly and aims to highlight the work of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in bringing the insect back from near-extinction.

Swindon-born professional and street artist Martin Travers was commissioned to do the work to raise awareness of the theme conservation.

He worked on the concept with friend Lionel Stanhope.

Martin said: “I researched conservation so the images raise awareness of the situation for some animals and plants in Wiltshire.

“With the heron, there are quite a lot of them around Swindon but I chose the butterfly because it’s very specifically the marsh fritillary butterfly, which is native to the area.

“The Wildlife Trust has been working to restore it by planting many acres of this purple flower called devil’s-bit scabious, which the butterfly eats and is landing on in the image.”

The mural features the yellow wagtail.

Martin added: “The bird represents the work we still need to do as it’s a migratory bird so when it’s around Wiltshire it breeds but doesn’t breed in Africa so it tells a message there.”

Martin travels the world but started as a graffiti artist in London. He worked in Kathmandu in Nepal for five years and tried to get art on the curriculum of low-income schools.

“I like to do art that says something, public art is not just pretty, it should have a message. With more positive graffiti, that’s what a public space is for – communicating.”