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 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.

Grid ref:
Reserve size:
85 hectares

In this section

Reserve profile

Geodiversity at the Lewes Downs


What you might see

Getting around



Three nature reserves to visit this spring

Three nature reserves to visit this spring

Spring is the perfect opportunity to get out and explore what nature has to offer. Our nature reserves are free to visit, and we’ve chosen three which are fantastic for wildlife in the spring.

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.