Newtimber and Wolstonbury Hill Circular

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Newtimber and Wolstonbury Hill are owned by the National Trust, are situated in the South Downs National Park and are included in a large Site of Special Scientific Interest which spreads westwards along the spectacular Fulking Escarpment and Devil's Dyke. Horseshoe vetch, orchids, dropwort, autumn gentian and roundheaded rampion can be found on the hill and there are magnificent views of the weald and the downs. In early autumn Newtimber hill is covered in a purple blanket of devil's-bit scabious.

The walk passes a 700-year-old Grade II listed church, the remains of an Iron Age fort and then Bronze Age earthworks as you approach the top of Wolstonbury Hill. Here there is a great diversity of plants and insects. The chalk grassland, although it is a man-made habitat, is also one of the rarest and most diverse habitats in the world. The top of the hill is covered with grassy mounds. These are the home of ants which are an essential part of the life cycle of the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue butterflies, which thrive on the hill.

If you know where to look there is an abundance of orchids on the grassy slopes (early June). A useful link is to www.wolstonbury.com and also www.flickr.com/photos/pmcr/sets/72157632704055934/ for pictures of some of the orchids I saw there.

While you are walking look out for buzzards flying over Wolstonbury Hill in particular. You often hear their mewing call first. You can also often see green woodpeckers digging in the ant mounds on Wolstonbury Hill.

There are three quite steep climbs on this walk and a few steep downhill parts. The walk passes what has recently (2015) been judged to be Britain's tallest native tree, a beech in Newtimber Holt.

England - South England - West Sussex - South Downs

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, National Trust, Pub, Woodland

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3.1 Miles
25.5 Miles
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