Only 4% of the land within the South Downs National Park is chalk grassland. As residents of the Bepton Village we are indeed fortunate to have a SSSI right on our doorstep. Bepton Down was once renowned for the different varieties of native orchids it boasted which formed a profusion of carpets as each one burst into flower. People from outside the area used to come to admire them. In fact one gentleman used to turn up every year with a notebook and he would count them. A labour of love which was well-rewarded as he counted thousands of them.
Sadly times have changed and the lack of proper management has lead to a decrease in the types of orchids present as well as in the numbers seen flowering every year.
This section is devoted to the orchids and primulas to be found at present and in the very recent past on Bepton Down. With luck and correct management the orchids found here at present will increase and other species of orchid found on other chalk downland SSSIs (managed by charitable trusts) within the vicinity will return to grace our very own precious area of chalk grassland.
Orchids that are found in such sites but that are not as yet actually present on Bepton Down are listed under the heading “Other Chalk Downland Orchids”.