I have never much cared for moths, have you? When I was young we had strong-smelling mothballs to get rid of them and stop them eating our clothes. When blankets were stored they had to be ‘mothballed’.

The clothes moth lives in houses and doesn’t go outside. Its dull grey wings are probably familiar to us all.

It is not the actual moth that eats our clothes but the larvae. They are hidden in folds of fabric and produce threads to protect themselves until they can pupate, then hatch into moths, which are not a favourite.

Last week we were walking on the edge of our woodland when my husband suddenly said: “Look at this. What is it?”

I went over to look. Neither of us knew what it was but were sure moths had been here.

We saw a tent-like structure made from very fine white threads and held on to our tree with white strands to secure it. I found two more tents on the same branch. Leaves from the tree had been caught up in the webs and formed part of the structures.

When I looked carefully, I could see small dark caterpillars inside. They had spun the webbing to keep them from being eaten by birds.

Some caterpillars had ventured outside to get extra food. I could see that several tree leaves had been eaten away, leaving only the stalks.

I kept visiting to see what would happen. One morning I saw rows of little green eggs on a leaf just below a tent. Eventually, they began to move.

"That’s strange," I thought, "eggs can’t walk."

Well, these could certainly walk, and they travelled in convoy up into the tent. It was then I saw what had really happened – the eggs had begun to hatch into little black caterpillars and their legs stuck out underneath their egg cases, so they could walk into the safety of the webbing.

I feared for their delicate hideout in blazing sun and wind. But the older caterpillars constantly repaired their tent with more webbing and ‘guy ropes’.

I couldn’t find out which moth had laid these eggs that had hatched and made these remarkable tents.

Several types of moth make tents. Which was ours?

I asked a friend who used to work for the Wildlife Trust. She said it was probably the ermine moth but advised me to contact the Butterfly (and Moth) Conservation Trust. I emailed them from their web site, without much hope of an answer.

They got back straight away. It was, indeed, an ermine moth. Luckily, I had included the fact it was on a bird-cherry tree – apparently this was vital information because our moth is very discerning and is specifically a bird-cherry ermine moth. It will eat only the bird-cherry tree leaves.

Now the caterpillars have pupated, the tent is sealed tightly. Inside, I think there will be pupae ready to hatch into exclusive and important moths. They will be silvery white with black dots on their back – just like real ermine.

I have mothballed my dislike of moths, for the time being. I am waiting eagerly for the hatching of our very own ‘peer of the realm’ moths complete with ermine capes!