New bridleway in Hove is a boost for biodiversity

A new bridleway in Hove will open up a missing link in the city’s footpath network and provide new habitat for wildlife.

The new path, which links rights of way on Benfield Hill and the New Barn Farm area with the Dyke Railway trail and beyond, has been created by West Hove Golf course and Brighton and Hove City Council’s countryside team and the South Downs National Park Authority.

The opportunity to open the path arose after West Hove Golf Club approached the SDNPA for planning permission for an acoustic bund, buffering the course from the A27. Creating the new bridleway and opening up the surrounding access land was one of the planning conditions.

The work has created an attractive east-west route, north of the A27 for cyclists, horse riders and walkers.

Biodiversity will also be boosted after wildflowers have been planted in the chalk grassland. These flowers are a fantastic source of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other insects. Hibernacula, which are animal refuges, have been created to support several reptile species.

Andrew Lee, Director of Countryside Policy and Management at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This project significantly improves the rights of way network in the National Park’s Hangleton and Portslade area and creates a wonderful opportunity for the public to enjoy this new species-rich chalk grassland. It also creates an important wildlife corridor to help support biodiversity between existing nature sites.

“The chalk grassland will be managed by cut and collect for a few years and, ultimately, the plan is for the land to be grazed by sheep. This will be a better way of managing the site and will be much more productive for the biodiversity of the area.”