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

11 Sep 18

Air Bee & Bee

We have an exciting new accommodation block being developed at the moment at Saddlescombe. This construction is a large bug hotel that has been designed and constructed (with a little help from rangers) by lovely volunteer Andy. The hotel is designed to provide accommodation for many of our insect friends whilst working as a retaining wall and conversation piece around at our learning barn. Fantastic job Andy!

Volunteer Andy building a bee hotel at Saddlescombe Farm

21 Aug 18

Hornet or hoverfly?

Last week we had a visit from Bug Life’s Laurie Jackson who came to teach us all about pollinators and their conservation. The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s which has had a massive knock-on effect to our insect and bird life. This makes us extra proud of the rare unimproved chalk grasslands that we look after here. On our afternoon walk we came across a batman hoverfly, a hornet impersonator with a rather interesting logo on its torso.

The batman hoverfly mimics a hornet to avoid predators

03 Aug 18


At last it has rained ending a dry spell that had lasted since the 15th of May. Things were getting desperate. Now the dew ponds have water and things are beginning to grow. Our insects can munch and the cows and sheep have fresh grass to graze. Once again the sky above the farm is full of swallows and house martins, the birds of prey are soaring, and the hill is full of the sound of meadow pipits and yellowhammers.

Kestrel hovering above Saddlescombe Farm