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Adonis blue male on Carline thistle, Rodborough Common, Gloucestershire
An Adonis blue butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Newtimber Hill butterfly walk

Discover some of the UK's rarest butterflies among flower-filled grasslands on this 3-mile circular walk. Wind your way along and down the crest of the South Downs where, during the summer, you might spot Adonis and chalkhill blues, dark green fritillaries and silver-spotted skippers. It's also a good place for orchids – including many frog orchids – along with red star thistles, round-headed rampions, drifts of devil's-bit scabious and autumn gentian.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

Lay-by off Saddlescombe Road, grid ref: TQ268119

Step 1

From the lay-by on the east side of the road, climb up the bank to a stile. Head diagonally up the slope to the left, aiming to the left of a prominent clump of ash trees on the summit. Pick up the main cattle track that skirts below this clump and head above the field terraces down the slope, towards the far upper slope. You'll reach a corridor through woodland, by an old post.

A dark green fritillary butterfly at Portstewart Strand
A dark green fritillary | © National Trust Images/Wilbert McIlmoyle

Step 2

Follow the main cattle track into the ash woodland and a large open glade. There you'll find a dark brick building base (a milking stand). After admiring the view, turn right and go uphill, through a narrow path across a belt of scrub, and out on to open short turf. Cross this turf, and aim straight ahead towards the old dew ponds.

Step 3

Turn right down a vehicle track by the main dew pond. This runs through hawthorn scrub and onto open downland between two hills. Bear left and down along the scrub edge, turn near a lone ash tree on your right.

Step 4

Head downhill, slightly left and past old field terraces before turning left. Go up along the lower slope of the south-facing combe, continue until you see a fence line in front of you and aim for the gate in the bottom-right corner of the fence.

A Chalkhill Blue male butterfly in July at Lighthouse Down, Kent
A make chalkhill blue butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Step 5

After the gate, walk along cattle tracks running along the lower slopes. Avoid the slope bottom track as that runs through rather flowerless and butterfly-free terrain. Eventually come down to the track, to leave the slope by a field gate.

Step 6

After the gate, turn right onto the farm lane, go through another gate and follow the track through the farm. You can visit the old donkey wheel and some of the old farm buildings. The tea shack is in the furthest of the small farmyards, just off the main track.

Step 7

Carry on along the lane, continuing straight on and going through a field gate back on to the down. Aim to the left and down the slope of the old chalk quarry, before aiming right up the slope, keeping the ash tree belt on your left. Follow a cattle track along the lower downland slope back to the stile by the lay-by.

End point

Lay-by off Saddlescombe Road, grid ref: TQ268119

Trail map

Newtimber Hill butterfly walk map
Newtimber Hill butterfly walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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DistanceMiles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)

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Saddlescombe Road, near Brighton, West Sussex, BN45 7DE

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Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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