Summer at Levin Down really is magical. Chalk grasslands like these are really diverse when it comes to flowers and to see the hillside covered in wild thyme, marjoram, lady’s bedstraw, pyramidal orchid, clustered bellflower, round-headed rampion and harebell is simply stunning – in late summer you can even see heather flowering in some areas and the parasitic common dodder.
There are plenty of birds around too – look out for yellowhammer, garden warbler, buzzard, kestrel and red kite.
In the autumn you will see autumn ladies-tresses – beautiful little orchids with flowers set in a spiral: this is also a good time to look for brown hairstreak butterflies – the female will be laying her sculptural eggs on the younger growth of blackthorn.
There are plenty of other butterflies to see including grizzled skipper, green hairstreak, chalkhill blue and brown argus – several trips will be required to see them all. The juniper colony is one of the best in Sussex and it’s also a great place to see the juniper shieldbug.
brown hairstreak / Ryan Greaves