Grazed by cattle and sheep, the southern boundary of West Sussex is the South Downs, a magnificent range of rolling chalk hills that stretch for ninety miles across Sussex and into Hampshire.
Ideal for nature loving campers, The South Downs Way is a long distance bridleway that follows the crest of the hills from Winchester to Beachy Head at Eastbourne.
The South Downs Natural Area is rich in animal and plant species because of the wide variety of countryside from ancient woodland and wetland and arable fields to chalk cliffs.
The grasslands of the South Downs are rich in birds, butterflies, moths, plants and wild life with nearly fifty per cent of the orchid species that are native to Britain found here including the honey-scented Musk Orchid, Spider Orchid, the Bee and the Early Purple.
Plants such as the rare Early Gentian which like calcium rich soils and the Round-Headed Rampion flourish in this beautiful countryside.
The scrub, plateau and scarp woodlands are home to birds such as the Nightjar and Nightingale whilst Peregrines breed on the chalk cliffs. Bird species include Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Linnet, Skylark and Stonechat.
Nature watchers can spot a wide range of moths including the Blood Vein, the Large Yellow Underwing and the brightly coloured green and pink Elephant Hawk Moth.
The South Downs geology is comprised of relatively soft chalk containing bands and seams of flint that form tilted layers. From the Cretaceous period both the chalk and flint are formed from the remains of animals and plants. The South Downs soil type, called rendzina, is largely responsible for the diversity of small, low-growing herbs in this area as it is rich in calcium, well drained and of thin consistency and allows slow rates of plant growth.
Look out for badgers, deer, foxes and rabbits within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as stunning views and delightful villages and rural hamlets to explore.
For Adur Valley nature notes click here