Decline of an SSSI on the South Downs

Bepton Down is a Neglected SSSI on the South Downs

Bepton Down SSSI should be a unique area of chalk downland in West Sussex – but it isn’t.

Bepton Down is just below The South Downs Way on a north facing slope with stunning views towards Midhurst and beyond. It should be 14 hectares of extraordinary habitat, home to protected species of plants and grasses – and one of the few remaining areas of chalk downland in West Sussex.

Even though Bepton Down has an SSSI status it has been neglected and it is now reverting to a mixture of scrub, wasteland and coarse vegetation. The steady decline of this SSSI has been overseen by Cowdray Estate and regulated by Natural England.

Please help me raise awareness about the decline of Bepton Down by sharing this article.

Thank you.

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Peregrine or Hobby Falcon?

Peregrine Falcon Midhurst and Bepton

Have you ever caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye and thought to yourself ‘Hello! I wasn’t expecting THAT!’…

Maybe I’m easily distracted. Or maybe I spend too much time looking out of the window, but earlier this afternoon I saw a dot in the sky that had me running for my camera. And the reason I ran was because I knew this bird was something special. This wasn’t any old bird. This bird was a Falcon.  Continue reading “Peregrine or Hobby Falcon?”

Why are we seeing so many Hummingbird Hawkmoths?

Hummingbird Hawkmoth 2017

It’s the wind what done it!

Hummingbird Hawkmoths migrate to the UK every year from southern Europe and north Africa. If you’ve ever seen one you’ll know why they get their name. In fact, so closely do they resemble a Hummingbird the RSPB gets phone calls every summer from bewildered gardeners reporting actual sitings of Hummingbirds!

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Brimstone Butterfly

Garden Brimstone Butterfly West Sussex Bepton

Female Brimstone is yellowish-green – with an orange spot in the middle of each wing

It’s so easy to get distracted by the butterflies in the garden. And this summer is turning out to be a great year for being sidetracked with butterfly numbers much higher than previous years.

Here’s a Brimstone. They’re traditionally one of the early butterflies and can be seen right through Spring and Summer in hedgerows and gardens. Brimstones have a single brood, and they’re a hibernating butterfly. They’ll spend the winter in ivy, holly and bramble, re-emerging early in Spring to breed.

South Downs Purple Emperor Butterfly

Purple-Emperor-Butterfly-Sussex-South-Downs.jpg

Purple-Emperor-Butterfly-Sussex-South-Downs-underwing.jpg

I’ve waited 40 years to see one of these…

Today was a very special day for me. Because today I saw a Purple Emperor for the very first time. Which is pretty special, because I’ve been looking for one of these elusive butterflies since I was about ten years old. As a small boy browsing through my Observer’s Book of British Butterflies, the Purple Emperor and the Camberwell Beauty were the butterflies that dreams were made of. And today – after many years of looking – my dream finally came true!

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