Wild Park: South Downs National Park
Whilst there has been earlier mention of the Wild Park LNR and the wildlife seen in the area, it has been announced that as from 1st April 2010 the area will be incorporated into the South DownsNational Park.
Clearance work on Wild Park
Clearance work is commencing soon on some of the slopes of the WildPark coomb and includes the re-introduction of sheep to graze. In Victorian times the northern banks of the coomb, behind the Sports Pavilion and Cafe, were a popular venue for butterfly enthusiasts. Since then patches of grass have remained thanks to enthusiastic volunteers but generally the area has become scrub, with hawthorn predominating. Butterflies over the area include Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Marbled White and others.
Bird life in the area
The bird life of the LNR has been studied for over twenty years and breeding counts and migration have been well documented. Rarities do turn up from time time and of course sightings mean being in the right place at the right time. Scarcer birds seen have included Honey Buzzard, Red Kite, Wryneck, Hoopoe, Tawny Pipit and Serin. The winter roost of Magpies of around 300 birds is probably one of the highest roosts in the country.
Plant life in the area
Plantlife, too, has been studied in recent years and an extensive list of species have been found. Orchids are well represented here, especially the thousands of Early Purple Orchids which appear on the Hillfort in the spring. Interesting plants found annually are Sainfoin, Salsify, Pirri-pirri-bur, Fox and Cubs, Colt’s-foot and Knapweed Broomrape.
Why not see for yourself?
These photos are from my own collection. Hoping this brief article has given the incentive for others to enjoy the wonderful nature that abounds around the perimeters of Brighton. Why not come up and explore (but beware proximity of Hollingbury golf course). The views are pretty spectacular too! Access east of the Ditchling Road; from Moulsecoomb Station or Lewes Road; or northwards from Hollingdean Park.