The butterflies of Brighton and Hove – exclusive report Part 5: Waterhall & Westdene

Chalk Hill Blue

This is part 5 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 – Waterhall:

Waterhall Conservation Area and Waterhall Golf Course slope:

Small Copper

Overall number of butterfly and moth species recorded on site: 29 butterflies and 11 moth species.
Site description: North of the rugby club, the Waterhall Conservation Area is a mixture of chalk grass downland slopes with dominant scrub and woodland running along the west bank bordering the golf course, the central area is around the Dew Pond.
Main butterfly species to look out for: Grizzled Skipper, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Small Blue, Adonis Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Marbled White and Silver-spotted Skipper.

Green Hairstreak

Main day-flying and resting moth species and caterpillars to look out for: Elephant Hawk-moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Cinnabar and Drinker.
Best butterfly locations: The best locations for Spring and Late Summer butterflies are the open areas of long grass surrounding the Dew Pond, the chalk grassland slope to the East of the Dew Pond starting by the track running north. Away from 
this area the large grassland ”slope” situated on Waterhall Golf Course lies between the two large golf greens south of the golf club car park.

Small Blue

Travel Directions:
Pedestrian entrances: Access to Mill Road is via a path and incline of 100 steps found at the North-West corner of Patcham Place Recreational Ground, once along the edge of Mill Road you’ll soon see a bridge which you’ll need to go through, turning left onto Waterhall Road. Alternatively go to the entrance where Windmill Drive meets Millcroft, cut directly across Green Ridge, crossover Mill Road and the bridge passing over the A27, opening to a slope leading down to Waterhall Road. See link for illustrated pathways crossing Mill Road, here:

Driving: Far northern end of London Road turn sharp left at the roundabout onto Mill Road, turning right soon after through the bridge, turning left onto Waterhall Road.

Adonis Blue

Parking: Keep right at the fork in Waterhall Road leading into a car park.
Buses: Buses: 5A, 27 and 56.
Useful links: &

Silver-Spotted Skipper

Brighton and Hove Butterfly Sites – Westdene:

Green Ridge – Meadows and Coney Wood:

Marbled White

Overall number of butterfly species recorded on site: Minimum of 16 species.
Site description: Chalk grassland meadows and wildflowers bordered by hedgerows of scrub starting at the top of Dyke Road Avenue tapering towards the East past Patcham Windmill into Coney Wood on the northern border of Coney Hill which heads down towards Patcham Place Recreational Ground off the London Road. Mainly flat terrain but sloping steeply in parts into and through Coney Wood.
Main butterfly species to look out for: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Large Skipper and Marbled White.

Speckled Wood

Main day-flying moth species to look out for: Silver Y, Cinnabar and Six-spot Burnet.
Best butterfly locations: The largest variety of butterflies and moth species can be observed in the open grassland meadows.
Travel Directions:
Pedestrian entrances: Dyke Road Avenue/ Green Ridge via a twitten between House Numbers 41 and 43 or a junction at Windmill Drive/Mill Rise.

Meadow Brown

Parking: Green Ridge/Millcroft/Windmill Drive and Mill Rise.
Buses: 27.
Useful links: &


About the author of these exclusive reports:

Grizzled Skipper illustration by Jamie Burston

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:

Large Skipper


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 supplied these lovely photos).

Small Skipper


By popular request, the previous 7 articles can be located by clicking the links below:

Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 1:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 2:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 3:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 4:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 6:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 7:


Butterflies of Brighton & Hove – Part 8:

  1. Jamie Burston Reply

    If you visit Green Ridge (Meadows) within the next two weeks, you should see good numbers of Common Blue, also Brown Argus and Small Copper may still be around.

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