The South Downs offer a unique wildlife habitat-

1600 sq kilometres of rolling hills from Eastbourne in the west to Winchester in the east.

Perhaps the most famous feature of the district is the ‘Seven Sisters’, the   white chalky cliffs near Seaford .

No one plant thrives in the chalky  conditions of the south downs allowing a wide variety of hardy plants to hold their own.

Also thriving are some of Britain’s rarest butterflies including the Silver Spotted Skipper, Duke of Burgundy the Adonis Blue and the Chalk hill Blue








The South Downs. Unique wildlife habitat

These exposed heights attract the aeronautical masters- the red kite the  peregrine, the   kestrel and the buzzard.




The Southeram nature reserve near Lewes is home to Corn buntings.

Malling Down East of Lewes

Has the Adonis Blue butterfly, the Common Blue Butterfly and the Chalkhill Blue.

The woods and meadows near Upper Beeding offer ideal conditions for orchids.  These include Purple Orchids, Pyramidal Orchids, Bee Orchids.

Our southern coastal position means that rare bird migrants are often spotted, blown in from the continent. These  include the  Ring Ouzel and Black redstart and Snow bunting.

The South Downs Way peaks dramatically at  Butser Hill in Hampshire and  Ditchling Beacon in Sussex.

However the South Downs have another contrasting feature. The broad flat flood plains which can be observed from the RSPB reserve at Pulborough. The river Arun is tidal and when the tide combines with  season rainfall

an area from Amberley to Pulborough becomes a  landscape of flat water with the occasional tree.  

In winter the  influx of Whooper and Bewicks Swans is a seasonal highlight for the ornithologist.

The swans many of which fly down from Siberia prefer the ‘milder’ winter in Britain.

RSPB have also noted an upsurge in the numbers of Black tailed Godwits wintering each year.

The RSPB Pulborough is just one of several nature reserves across the district.


To the west near Petersfield

Hants there is Weavers

Down Bog, noted for plant species Bog Asphodel and Sundew. Ashford Hangers near Petersfield boasts  rare sightings of the Green Hairstreak butterfly.  

In West Sussex the Iping and Stedham Commons are noted for the Dartford Warbler and Nightjar.

Visiting -Snow Bunting

Winter visitor Bewick Swan



The Cockchaffer