What makes Nymans Woods so special?

This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.

An SSSI is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as designated by Natural England – so why was Nymans Woods chosen?

The majority of the woods is ‘ancient’, meaning it has been wooded for over 400 years. There are also many streams, ponds, open wildflower glades and exposed rocks, allowing a very wide range of wildlife to make its home here.

There are both rare and common birds, butterflies, dragonflies, invertebrates and plants, including unusual specialists in the stream valleys and on the rock faces, known as 'Atlantic' flora.

Conservation management work is concentrated on maintaining ‘favourable’ SSSI status, Natural England’s highest standard.

Breeding birds

The great variety of trees and shrubs of different ages and heights coupled with the waterways support a rich community of breeding birds, both resident and migrant, including woodpeckers, finches, warblers and tits.

Woodland management aims to enhance this important habitat for their benefit and we survey regularly to see how they are fairing. During nesting season - 1 March to 31 July - we ask you to help by keeping your dogs on leads.


A network of herb-rich paths and rides provide feeding grounds for woodland butterflies such the silver washed fritillary and white admiral.

The streams, cascades and ponds are patrolled by many dragonflies and damselflies such as the brilliant emerald and the downy emerald. And, although less noticeable and maybe not quite as attractive, there are also many rare and important deadwood invertebrates.

Rare plants

The particular mix of rocks types, soils and streams creates a warm, moist microclimate that favours 'Atlantic' plants, especially mosses, liverworts and ferns usually only found in the west of England apart from here on the Weald. They include the hay-scented fern and the pretty and delicate ivy-leaved bellflower, alongside the great array of our more common woodland flowers.