Malling Down

Superb chalk grassland and scrub with many typical and rare flowers and butterflies, all within easy walking distance of Lewes town centre

Our Downland nature reserves at Malling Down and Southerham Farm sit on the fringes of the East Sussex county town of Lewes, with Malling Down dominating the easterly skyline of this quaint historic town.

Both sit within the chalk massif of the Lewes Downs and are part of the South Downs National Park. They share their space with Glyndbourne and Glynde estates and the Lewes Golf Course. The ancient hillfort of Mount Caburn is found on the south easterly corner of the Lewes Downs overlooking the main stretch of the South Downs separated by the River Ouse and surrounding wet meadows that extend down to the sea at Newhaven. This ancient hillfort is often highlighted by paragliders hanging in mid-air above its earth works.

Recent tree work

Urgent tree work has taken place at Malling Down nature reserve near Lewes . UKPN carried out essential tree safety work relating to ash dieback. The work focussed on mains electricity cable running along the Ringmer road track. All of the Ash trees that have come down were showing heavy signs of dieback. It is a real shame to have to remove this number of trees but we have been left with little choice due to the risk to the public.

Find out more about Ash Dieback here.

Grid ref:
Reserve size:
85 hectares

In this section

Reserve profile

Geodiversity at the Lewes Downs


What you might see

Getting around



Where to see… orchids

Where to see… orchids

There are about 56 species of orchid native to the UK and 23 of those can be found across Sussex Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves. These are some of the best reserves to visit in search of beautiful and elusive wild orchids.

Why chalk grasslands are so important - part two

Why chalk grasslands are so important - part two

Development has eaten away at our stunning Downs, but with planning laws, then protective designations, this has dramatically slowed. In the second of two blogs, Phil Belden talks about the vital importance of protecting and caring for it.

Three nature reserves to visit this spring

Three nature reserves to visit this spring

Did you know that we have over 30 nature reserves in Sussex, and that they are all free to visit? We’ve chosen 3 of our best reserves from across the county that are great for wildlife in the spring.