Malling Down (Sussex Wildlife Trust), East Sussex ***
Directions to Malling Down
Grid ref: TQ 428117
Nearest town: Right next to Lewes
Access details On the A26 heading out of Lewes, turn east on the B2192 to Ringmer just as you leave the town. Parking is after one mile in the layby on the south side of the B2192, TQ432114. There is a kissing gate onto the reserve at the west end of the layby. From here you can explore the grassy floor of the quarries (chalk pits) on the northern side of the Down. To cross over to the southern valley, the easiest route up is at the very western end of the reserve. There are some very steep ascents on this reserve and steep cliff faces that should be treated with great respect.
The following summary of the transect report for 2005 by Crispin Holloway gives a wonderful insight into what species to expect on the reserve:
Transect recording began in 1984 on the 78 hectare reserve. In 2005, 30 species and 5410 butterfly sightings were recorded during monitoring. Transect counts: In bold - 2005 figures. (In brackets, long-term Average 1984 – 2004 & 5 year Average 2000 – 2004)
Small/Essex Skipper 72 (112/113)
Silver-spotted Skipper 129 (6,16) Another excellent year with a longer flight period than recorded in recent years. Since colonizing the reserve in 1999 this species population has progressively increased.
Large Skipper 1 (16,9) One of the worst years since recording began in 1984 with only one transect sighting recorded towards the end of the normal flight period.
Dingy Skipper 29 (64,66) A poor year (4th lowest since 1984) but up on sightings recorded in 2004. An individual second brood was recorded on week 17 (25th Aug) on section 1.
Grizzled Skipper 10 (26,16)
Clouded Yellow 3 (9,9)
Brimstone 32 (35,31)
Large White 49 (152,76)
Small White 69 (97,44)
Green-veined White 4 (17,5)
Orange Tip 1 (4,2)
Green Hairstreak 13 (16,31)
Small Copper 43 (110,116)
Brown Argus 77 (79,54)
Common Blue 387 (480,601)
Chalkhill Blue 93 (235,112)
Adonis Blue 281 (620,263)
Holly Blue 7 (7,4)
Red Admiral 28 (22,35)
Painted Lady 0 (29,23)
Small Tortoiseshell 8 (115,56) A very poor year, the lowest number of transect sightings ever recorded, since monitoring began in 1984.
Peacock 9 (33,26) A very poor year, the lowest number of transect sightings since 1991.
Comma 8 (11,16)
Speckled Wood 6 (26,22)
Wall Brown 7 (29,31) A poor year, the second lowest numbers ever recorded on transect and only recorded on three transects during 2005.
Marbled White 184 (176,187)
Gatekeeper 558 (463,482)
Meadow Brown 3002 (2595,2216)
Small Heath 232 (344,222) Ringlet 13 (4,16)
Day flying moths: Cinnabar Moth 5 (39) (59) Six-spot Burnet 106 (57) (58).
Site description The site comprises of large areas of unimproved species rich chalk grassland as well as areas of scrub, secondary woodland and arable reversion. Malling Down has a good variety of indicator species associated unimproved chalk grassland including Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue and Horseshoe Vetch. The coombe valley is characterised by steep sided north and south facing slopes that open westwards towards the town of Lewes. At the eastern end, the valley divides in two, between which is a large convex slope known as the Snout.
Author Crispin Holloway/Adrian Thomas
Looking east towards the Snout
The north-eastern chalkpits, looking south
The north-western chalkpits, looking east
Three species showing differing trends.
The transect route
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