Wolstonbury Hill is the ‘jewel in the crown’ when it comes to wild orchid spotting on the Devil’s Dyke Estate and it is the only place in Sussex where you are likely to see the man orchid.
Many other chalk downland flowers and butterflies can be seen here in the summer too and Wolstonbury is also home to the highest concentration of anthills on the South Downs. The strange humps that pepper the hill each house around 100,000 ants and can be seen all year round.
There is history here too in the form of a Bronze Age camp, cross dykes, sunken trackways and the scars of a 20th century rifle range.
The South Downs Way, which passes nearby, is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. There are a number of bridle paths crossing the hill and these offer challenging climbs and routes leading to Hurstpierpoint, Clayton and Hassocks.
How to get here
The South Downs Way passes through the village of Pyecombe just to the south of Wolstonbury Hill.
A section of the National Cycle Network Route 20 runs along the west side of the A23 from Brighton to Pyecombe.
Metrobus services 270, 271, 272 and 273 run from Brighton to East Grinstead or Crawley and stop in Pyecombe and Clayton on the way. Please refer to the bus company’s website for timetables. Get off the bus in Pyecombe for the south side of Wolstonbury hill or outside the Jack & Jill Inn in Clayton for the north side of the hill.
There is parking along the London Road to the north of ‘The Plough’ public house in Pyecombe (postcode BN45 7FN) or at Clayton Green recreation ground in Underhill Lane, Clayton (postcode BN6 9PJ).
There are various footpaths leading through the back of Pyecombe village to Wolstonbury Hill and the footpath up from the Clayton side starts in New Way Lane which runs behind the Jack & Jill Inn.
There are no National Trust facilities at Wolstonbury Hill but there are public houses nearby (not National Trust): ‘The Plough’ at Pycombe and ‘The Jack & Jill’ at Clayton. There is also a café at Wayfield Park Farm Shop (not National Trust - closed on Mondays) at the foot of Newtimber Hill on the west side of the A23 accessible via a bridge over the road.