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Wildlife Spotting

Wildlife Spotting

The South Downs National Park is a rich mosaic of habitats, the product of centuries of human and non-human interaction with the landscape.

This relationship between people, grazers and geological forces has created truly unique habitats that allow rare and internationally-important species to thrive and flourish.

Wander through the South Downs in East Hampshire and it is impossible not to be impressed by the beauty of the wooded hills.

You can lose yourself in steep valley sides cloaked in hanger woodlands.

Many fish, amphibians and invertebrates thrive in the chalk streams of the Meon and Itchen whilst rare butterflies flourish on the flower-rich chalk grasslands.

A rich diversity of landscape areas exist across West Sussex.

The distinctive Wealden Greensand ridge, formed from deposited sands and clays when this part of Britain was under the sea, shares the same sloping landform as the chalk hills. River valleys support wetland habitats and wildlife.

Lowland heaths provide shelter and breeding grounds for reptiles and heathland insects.  

Ancient woodlands, beech plantations and mystical yew groves offer secluded habitats for specialist species.

On the iconic sheep-grazed downland you will find rare plants such as the round-headed rampion, many orchids, delicate butterflies such as the Adonis and Chalkhill Blues, and a wealth of other wildlife.

The chalk sea cliffs, shoreline and the Cuckmere Estuary along the Heritage Coast at the eastern end of the National Park host a wide range of coastal wildlife.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."