This is part 4 of an exclusive report specially commissioned by Brighton & Hove News on the butterflies of our city and so you may wish to save all of the parts for future reference!
Brighton and Hove Butterfly Sites – Moulsecoomb:
Wild Park LNR – including surrounding fields and Home Farm Road verges:
Overall number of butterfly species recorded on site: 34 species.
Site description: Wild Park is Brighton and Hove’s largest Local Nature Reserve (LNR) which comprises of a deep and steep sided coombe covered in woodland, chalk grassland and scrub. Surrounding both sides of the coombe on high ground there are two large grassland fields best access off the Ditchling Road, or via an uphill climb on paths running up the side of the coomb, from the Lewes Road where the mouth of the coombe is clearly visible and accessed. Just to the West, off the Lewes Road there is Home Farm Road bordered by the chalk grassland banks and road verges leading up to Covers Merchants. Most areas are uneven, sloping or steep.
Main butterfly species to look out for: Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Dingy Skipper, Adonis Blue, Small Skipper, Marbled White, Ringlet and Chalk Hill Blue.
Best butterfly locations: Home Farm Road chalk grassland banks and road verges up to Covers Merchants on both sides are productive for seeing butterflies, in good years you can see around 100 Chalk Hill Blues on the wing. Whilst the large stand out Oak tree by the Dew Pond of Wild Park supports an active cast of Purple Hairstreaks during hot and wind free July evenings.
Pedestrian entrances: Access to the coomb directly off the Lewes Road. Additional paths leading from the parking crescent adjacent to Ditchling Crescent off Ditchling Road, crossing the field towards the edge of the wood on the East side of the coombe. From Hollingdean you access the large field which lays to the West of the coomb, head off Lynchet Close along the side of Hollingdean Park and Lower Roedale Allotments, if you continue on and follow the field edge along the side of the golf course you will eventually reach the Dew Pond of Wild Park. There are pedestrian pavements along the edge of Home Farm Road off the Lewes Road.
Wheelchair Access: Via a bus there is wheelchair access to Home Farm Road, but users may need assistance as there is a series of inclines, there are a series of drop kerbs. There are more level areas for parking near the Covers Merchants.
Parking: Along Home Farm Road off the Lewes Road, and by turning into Wild Park – parking near the cafe building, again turning off the Lewes Road. Additional parking off Ditchling Road in the parking crescent adjacent to Ditchling Crescent.
Buses: 23, 24, 25 and 50U.
Useful links: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/parks-and-green-spaces/wild-park
Brighton and Hove Butterfly Sites – Bevendean:
Bevendean Down LNR:
Overall number of butterfly species recorded on site: 33 species.
Site description: The site is sloping, steep in parts, levelling out nearer the top. Surrounding the chalk grassland is areas of scrub, with woodland along the back of Heath Hill Avenue.
Main butterfly species to look out for: Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Small Blue, Marbled White, Small Skipper, Wall, Dark Green Fritillary, Chalk Hill Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper.
Main day-flying moth species and caterpillars to look out for: Six-spot Burnet, Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Cinnabar and Forester.
Best butterfly locations: The best location on the reserve to see a good range of butterflies is an area called Hogtrough Bottom, consisting of a chalk grassland valley, performing best from May to August when butterflies and flowers are most abundant.
Important Note: In more recent years the number of Adonis Blues seen on Bevendean Down LNR has declined, Butterfly Conservation – Sussex Branch would be interested to see photos taken of Adonis Blues at Bevendean Down LNR and the numbers you see during visits. Please send to their sightings page, see ”The value of reporting butterfly and moth sightings and where to send them” section for information.
Pedestrian entrances: The main entrance to the reserve and to Hogtrough Bottom is between 115A and 117 Heath Hill Avenue opposite Bevendean Primary School, there is a South Downs National Park orientation board at the entrance on the roadside. The tree lined entrance track leads up from Heath Hill Avenue, through a step over gate continue up the main track. As you emerge from the trees there is a wooden five bar gate across the track. On your left is Simmond’s Dew Pond and on your right is a pedestrian gate into Hogtrough Bottom. The whole area is open access but there is a narrow path which leads across the slope to the top of the valley where there is a welcome bench to sit and survey the view. There is additional access to Bevendean Down LNR at the junction of The Avenue and Upper Bevendean Avenue, where you may like to explore the Western end of the site.
Parking: There is on road parking in the surrounding areas, near to the pedestrian entrances onto the reserve, this includes Heath Hill Avenue.
About the author of these exclusive reports:
Jamie Burston is a local resident and Brighton based wildlife artist. His highly detailed illustrations are based on photographs that he has taken of local observations of the butterflies he encounters in Brighton and Hove and wider Sussex and thus forming the reference of his drawings and paintings. Visit Jamie’s online shop here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt
Thank you to the following people for providing information towards the article: Jamie Burston, Paul Gorringe, Peter Whitcomb, Geoff Stevens, Tessa Pawsey, Dan Danahar, Annabeth Horsley, Bob Foreman and Neil Hulme (who took these wonderful photos).