1600 sq kilometres of rolling hills from Eastbourne in the west to Winchester in
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
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
In winter the influx of Whooper and Bewicks Swans is a seasonal highlight for the
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
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