Unfortunately when the correct management of a SSSI situated on chalk downland in the South Downs is neglected invasive and undesirable plants begin to take over. Left unchecked these will end up by choking much of the native flora specific to such a location. In turn the rotting waste material from invasive and undesirable plants will enrich the land to such an extent that it will no longer be suitable for the native flora.
It is therefore of great concern that many invasive plants have been allowed to take hold on Bepton Down. These have not been cut back at the appropriate times of year and the waste material has not been removed. Thus with each passing year these increase and gain in height. The invasive plants to be found on Bepton Down included brambles, dog roses, hawthorn and huge stands of nettles and Hemp Agrimony.
The presence of undesirable plants such as the Common Mallow denote the fact that the soil is suffering from “improvement” which means that it is more fertile and will support plants that require that type of environment. However our native orchids and other species specific to a chalk downland environment will not thrive in such conditions.
It is therefore imperative that correct management is maintained to ensure the continued presence of flora and consequently fauna that depend on chalk downland for survival.