Wildlife discoveries and work at Saddlescombe Farm

Elephant hawk moth resting on a National Trust logo

Here at Saddlescombe Farm, National Trust staff and volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to conserve and enhance the natural environment we have been entrusted with.

Without the dedicated efforts to have a positive impact on the wildlife around us the landscape here on the downs would change, threatening the loss of many of the endangered and special species we play host to.

Saddlescombe surrounded by meadows and downland
Saddlescombe hamlet nestled in the surrounding downs
Saddlescombe surrounded by meadows and downland

So, in between endless bouts of scrub bashing and ragwort pulling, it's good to take a step back and appreciate the results of the work done here.

With so much wildlife around us there is always something new to see throughout each season. So, we will share with you some of the marvellous plants, birds, animals, and other things we have seen here, along with various projects we have been working on.

Hopefully, you will be inspired to get out into the countryside to have your own wondrous encounter with the inspiring wildlife of the South Downs.

Latest posts

10 Jul 18

The flying chequerboard is back!

Last Saturday may have hosted a certain football match, but it was also National Meadow’s Day. In partnership with Plantlife and Magnificent Meadows, we hosted a successful bug hunt safari at our meadow within the Iron Age hill fort at Devil’s Dyke. Many grasshoppers, weevils, meadow bugs, moths and butterflies were caught and examined. Notable, and lovely to see, were the emergence of our ‘flying chequered board’ the marbled white. It loves purple flowers, such as knapweed, thistle and scabious, which, inspite of the drought, are flowering in healthy numbers this year.

A marbled white butterfly nectaring on a greater knapweed flower head

03 Nov 17

The boys are back in town

We have welcomed a group of new rams to the farm who all seem to be settling in well. Their fresh blood will keep the flock healthy to make sure they can work hard at their conservation role of grazing our chalk downland. Without the help of these sheep our grasslands will become overgrown meaning we would lose many of our rare plants and insects.

A ram in a field

07 Oct 17

Ruby-red rosehips in the Victorian walled garden

After the beautiful roses of summer come the brightly-coloured hips of our ornamental rose plants here in the garden. The thorns are still there as protection – but these wonderfully nutritious rosehips help to feed our winter birds at the farm when other berries from the surrounding countryside like hawthorn and elder are in short supply.

Rosehips in the Victorian walled garden