Bepton Down SSSI is a unique area of chalk downland on The South Downs near the village of Bepton in West Sussex
Chalk grasslands have been likened to rainforests for the diversity of species they hold. But they are being lost at an alarming rate and it is estimated that the UK has lost about 80% of its chalk grassland over the last 60 years.
Bepton Down is a jewel in the crown. The habitat is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the area is a nationally rare example of unimproved chalk grassland. The Down is home to a wide range of plants and animals including six species of Orchid including the Early Purple, Common Spotted, Greater Butterfly, Pyramidal, Common Twayblade, Bee Orchids and White Helleborines.
The Bepton Down Conservation Group was set up in 2015 to help protect this Site of Special Scientific Interest and to encourage people to visit Bepton Down and enjoy this unique area of chalk downland.
Latest from the Bepton Down Blog
- Winter Leisure for the Bepton Down Sussex CattleThe lovely Sussex Cattle which spent many months keeping most of tbe SSSI sward down (not the dogwood which they do not find to their liking) are now spending quality time in the warm and dry. They are ensconced with others from the Findon Park Herd with the Hodgkins at Linch in an airy barn […]
- Summing Up for 2018Although 2018 has been positive in many respects it appears to be drawing to a close on a negative note. Matthew Dowse our SDNP Ranger for this area left for sunny Spain and has been replaced by Kate Dziubinska. I hope to meet her soon and to find out what plans are afoot for the […]
- The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of SummerNever has the sun beaten down so strongly upon Bepton Down as during the late spring and summer of 2018. After a very wet and fairly cold winter spring brought welcome relief and lovely warm days. This set Bepton Down on quick recovery from a very slow start. A deluge of rain occurred on the […]
- Spring is in the airI went for a superb walk on the Downs this morning. The climb up Cardiac Hill yielded three fallow does and although the weather was damp and misty at the top I was glad to be there. I then made my way to the old woodsman’s cottage now in ruins but where there are carpets […]
- Scrub ClearanceThings are finally happening on Bepton Down SSSI. In late 2017 following a complete and thorough cut of most of the scrub on all three sections, all the dead vegetation was removed. Then our local sheep farmer, Andrew Hodgkins, put nine teaser rams on the two main areas of the site where they should […]
- The decline of Bepton Down SSSIBepton Down SSSI (part of the Site from Treyford to Bepton Down) A lesson in: How not to look after valuable chalk grassland. Only 5% of chalk grassland remains in England and only 3% of the South Downs now qualify as such. If one thinks this should ensure that Bepton Down is well-maintained under the […]
- Robin’s PincushionOne of the undesirable plants on Bepton Down is showing odd features! The Dog Rose is one of the thorny invasive plants which, although attractive enough in its own right, is a menace on a SSSI chalk downland. If left to do its own thing it quickly grows tall and woody becoming difficult […]
- New NeighboursLast year the Cowdray Estate decided to close down two dairy operations and put two farms up for rent. Andrew Hodgkins managed to obtain the lease on both Cocking Hill Farm and Linch Farm. His parents run Wairere U.K. (New Zealand Romneys) sheep farm at Locks Farm, Washington, near Pulborough in West Sussex. So Andrew […]
- Chalara – Ash Die BackBepton Down is bordered by many trees some of which are Ash. Unfortunately last summer it became apparent that some of these trees were becoming distressed and beginning to show signs of “drying”. Branches were becoming bare and brittle and little new growth if any was taking place. There was definitely a major problem. In […]
- Unveiling of Bepton Down Panel.Wednesday 13th July, 2016. Neil Hart, one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Sussex who lives in Bepton Parish, was on hand to unveil the panel dedicated to Bepton Down SSSI. Helen Hollowood, Member of the Bepton Down Conservation Group and instrumental in obtaining the grant which allowed the idea to become reality, made an introductory […]