Smaller reserves

Across Sussex, the Trust owns a number of wonderful but tiny nature reserves that for a number of reasons are difficult to access. Some are also home to species that are particularly sensitive to disturbance.

If you would like more information please contact the Land Management Team for details.

Chailey Warren

Close to the Chailey Common nature reserve near Newick, East Sussex, this small isolated site is home to a declining population of marsh gentian amongst a rare heath and mire community. A patchwork of tormentil, heath spotted orchid and lousewort sit between cross-leaved heath, heather, dwarf gorse and purple moor-grass. Birch trees surround the whole nature reserve making it very sheltered, in the summer a very hot place to be and much loved by basking adders. Bracken and birch are a threat to this precious site. Many hours are spent removing young birch and cutting bracken. Exmoor ponies graze the heath in the early summer.

The Deneway

This nature reserve is a narrow strip of land 1.5 km long that runs alongside the mainline railway from Brighton to London. This valuable urban greenspace is part of a wider green corridor following the railway connect­ing inner city Brighton & Hove with the wider countryside. A haven for urban foxes and badgers the site also has a copse of the famous Brighton elms, one of the few places in the country where elms are still abundant. Elm is the food plant of the white-letter hairstreak butterfly, which is also found on site.

Leythorne Meadow

These delightful wet meadows three miles south of Chichester have a mixture of fen meadow and pasture communities, including southern marsh orchids. Occasional cattle grazing is an essential part of the management and is helping the southern marsh orchids to spread across this three hectare site.

Marehill Quarry

This abandoned sandstone mining site is found on the eastern outskirts of Pulborough, West Sussex. First opened at the end of the 19th Century, this quarry was extracting fine grade sand for the iron industry of the midlands up until the 1940s. After World War 2, the cave system was a mushroom farm for a short period and then remained abandoned until the Sussex Wildlife Trust took on the site in 1998.

Although not open to the public for safety reasons it is of great interest to geologists for examination and research purposes. The stable environmental conditions within the cave system make it ideal for winter roost for a range of bats including Natterer’s, whiskered and Daubenton’s. Overwintering herald moths can also be seen with the occasional bloxworth snout.