Ditchling Beacon
Ditchling Beacon, Ditchling Road, Ditchling, Brighton, East Sussex, BN6 8XG, England, UK.
W: Ditchling Beacon website 
Ditchling Beacon - View north west from the beacon. © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
View west along the South Downs Way. © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
Ditchling Beacon © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
Ditchling Beacon. © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
Ditchling Beacon © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
View east along the South Downs Way. © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr

Buzzard

Buteo buteo

Family: Accipitridae (Hawks and eagles)

Habitat: Coastal, farmland, grassland, heathland and woodland.

Size: Length 40-58 cm (16-23 in). Wingspan 109-136 cm (43-54 in).

Food: Small mammals, birds, carrion, earthworms and large insects.

Voice: Cat like mewing.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Takes off with distinctive slow wing beats, often circling or hovering. Frequently uses fence posts or similar as look-outs.

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) © Aviceda cc

Yellowhammer

Emberiza citrinella

Family: Emberizidae (Buntings)

Habitat: Grasslands, heathlands, hedgerows and scrub.

Size: Length 16-16.5 cm (6.3-6.5 in).Wingspan 23-29.5 cm (9.1-11.6 in).

Food: Seeds and insects.

Voice: Twick call and tzee-tzee-tzee-tzooo.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Rapid population decline has lead to a red status in the UK.

Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) © Alan Vernon cc

Skylark

Alauda arvensis

Family: Alaudidae (Larks)

Habitat: Farmland, grasslands, heathlands and woodland.

Size: Length 16-18 cm (6.3-7.1 in).

Food: Seeds and insects.

Voice: Musical chirrup, prriee and prreet often mimics other birds.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Often hovers or circles while singing.

Skylark (Alauda arvensis) © Daniel Pettersson cc

Linnet

Carduelis cannabina

Family: Fringillidae (Finches)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, grasslands, heathlands, coastal grazing marsh, hedgerows and mixed scrub.

Food: Seeds from most arable weeds and insects.

Voice: Melodious song with fast trills and twitters.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

It has an undulating flight and can form large flocks outside the breeding season.

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) ♂ © Ron Knight cc

Corn Bunting

Emberiza calandra

Family: Emberizidae (Buntings)

Habitat: Farmland.

Size: Length 16-19 cm.

Food: Seeds and insects.

Voice: Repetitive sound similar to jangling keys.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) © Alastair Rae cc

Bullfinch

Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Family: Fringillidae (Finches)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, towns and gardens, woodland and hedgerows.

Food: Seeds, buds and insects.

Voice: Sadwhistling peeeuu. Quiet warble song.

Season: All year round. All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Also called the common bullfinch it builds its nest in a large bush.

Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) © Mark Medcalf cc

Redwing

Turdus iliacus

Family: Turdidae (Thrushes)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, grasslands, orchards, woodland and hedgerows.

Food: Berries and worms.

Voice: ♂ Varied short song. Whistling flight call.

Season: Early September to early May. A few pairs nest.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Named after its red underwing, it is the UK's smallest true thrush. The sexes are similar. The male has a varied short song and whistling flight call. Forms loose flocks of 10 to 200 plus.

Redwing (Turdus iliacus) © Martin Cooper cc

Long-tailed Tit

Aegithalos caudatus

Family: Aegithalidae (Long-tailed tits)

Habitat: Farmland, gardens and parks, woodland, hedgerows and scrub.

Food: Insects throughout the year. Seeds in autumn and winter.

Voice: See-see-see.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Outside the breeding season they form compact flocks of up to 30 birds in family groups - parents and offspring.

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) ♂ © Ron Knight cc

Goldcrest

Regulus regulus

Family: Regulidae (Kinglets)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, woodland and native pine woods.

Size: Length 8.5-9.5 cm (3.3-3.7 in). Wingspan 13.5-15.5 cm (5.3-6.1 in).

Food: Spiders, moth eggs and other small insect food.

Voice: High-pitched tseee.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Goldcrests are the smallest bird in Europe.

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) © CJ Hughson cc

Meadow Pipit

Anthus pratensis

Family: Motacillidae (Pipits and wagtails)

Habitat: Farmland, gardens and parks, grasslands, uplands and coastal grazing marsh.

Size: Length 14.5-15 cm (5.7-5.9 in).

Food: Insects: flies, beetles and moths. Spiders. Seeds and berries.

Voice: Call: tseep. Song: descending trill.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Called a pipit after its call note. In the UK sometimes called the mippit.

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) ♂ © Ron Knight cc

Peregrine

Falco peregrinus

Family: Falconidae (Falcons and allies)

Habitat: Marsh, sea cliffs and purple moor grass and rush pasture.

Size: Length 34-58 cm (13-23 in). Wingspan 74-120 cm (29-47 in).

Food: Small and medium sized birds.

Voice: Harsh reck-reck-reck.

Season: All year round.

Hunts at dawn and dusk, swooping down on birds in flight at great speed usually knocking them out with the impact.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) © Mike Baird cc

Barn Owl

Tyto alba

Family: Tytonidae (Barn owls)

Habitat: Farmland, heathlands, marsh and woodland.

Size: Length 33-39 cm (13-15 in). Wingspan 80-95 cm (31-37 in).

Food: Mice, voles and shrews.

Voice: Shrill harsh shriek.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The barn owl hunts at night but also in the day particularly at dusk. Has distinctive wavering motions in flight and open dangling feathered legs.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) © Luc Viatour cc

Red Kite

Milvus milvus

Family: Accipitridae (Hawks and eagles)

Habitat: Farmland, woodland, grassland and gardens and parks.

Size: Length 60-70 cm (24-28 in). Wingspan 175-179 cm (69-70 in).

Food: Small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, young hares, rabbits, carrion, reptiles, amphibians and earthworms.

Voice: A very distinctive and memorable pipe whistle rising and falling in pitch: peee-ooo, pee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo.

Season: All year round. All year round.

Soaring and gliding flight, continually turning its long-forked tail.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus) ©

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

Family: Muscicapidae (Old World flycatchers)

Habitat: Woodland.

Size: Length 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 in).

Food: Insects, caterpillars and berries.

Season: All year round.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) © Mickaël Dia cc

Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Family: Hirundinidae (Swallows and martins)

Habitat: Grasslands and wetlands and freshwaters.

Size: Length 17-19 cm (6.7-7.5 in). Wingspan 32-34.5 cm (12.6-13.6 in).

Food: Flying insects.

Voice: Rapid distinctive trill.

Season: Early March to late October.

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Dashing turning agile flight. It can often be seen flying low using its high manoeuvrability to catch insects.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) © Thermos cc

Chalkhill Blue

Polyommatus coridon

Family: Lycaenidae (Blue)

Habitat: Lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: Length 18 mm (0.7 in). Wingspan 33-40 mm (1.3- 1.6 in).

Food: Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa).

Flight: Early July to late September.

Females are dark brown. Both male and female have black and white borders.

Chalkhill Blue ♂ (Polyommatus coridon) © Gail Hampshire cc

Common Blue

Polyommatus icarus

Family: Lycaenidae (Blue)

Habitat: Farmland, gardens and parks, grassland, heathland, meadows and orchards.

Size: Length 17 mm (0.7 in). Wingspan 29-36 mm (1.1-1.4 in).

Food: Common bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and other legumes.

Flight: Early April to late October.

Females are dark brown with bright orange spots near the wing tips. Both male and female have black and white borders.

Common Blue ♂ (Polyommatus icarus) © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr

Brown Argus

Aricia agestis

Family: Lycaenidae (Blue)

Habitat: Grasslands, heathlands, woodland and lowland calcareous grassland.

Size: 14 mm (0.6 in).

Food: CommonRock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium), Dove's-foot Cranesbill(Geranium molle) and Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium).

Flight: Early May to late September.

Both male and female are brown in colour.

Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) © Hectonicus cc

Green Hairstreak

Callophrys rubi

Family: Lycaenidae (Blue)

Habitat: Grasslands, heathlands and scrub.

Size: Length 15 mm (0.6 in).

Food: Many shrubs and herbs also gorse, broom, heather, bilberry, rock-rose and others.

Flight: Early June to late September. June till September.

The upper side is brown but can never be seen at rest as it always closes its wings.

In flight the green and brown flashing of the wings camouflages it well.

Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) © Hectonicus cc

Round-headed Rampion or Pride of Sussex

Phyteuma orbiculare

Family: Campanulaceae

Habitat: Lowland calcareous grassland and upland calcareous grassland.

Flowering Period: Early July to late August.

The county flower of Sussex, England. Interestingly, each head, is nota single bloom but a huddled collection of smaller blooms.

Round-headed Rampion (Phyteuma orbiculare) © Björn S... cc

Fragrant Orchid

Gymnadenia conopsea

Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Grasslands, heathlands, lowland calcareous grassland, upland calcareous grassland and limestone heath.

Size: Height 20-80 centimetres (7.9-31 in).

Pollinator: Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.

Flowering Period: Early June to late July.

Produces a sweet, orangey smell that is particularly strong in the evening.

Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) © Bjorn S cc

Common Spotted Orchid

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Family: Orchidaceae (Orchids)

Habitat: Gardens and parks, marsh, meadows, woodland, sand dunes and hedgerows.

Size: Height 15 to 60 cm.

Flowering Period: Early July to late August.

Very variable plant height andflower colour, morphology and scent.

The flower colour varies from white to pale purple with purple spots, a symmetrical pattern of dark purple loops or dots and dashes.

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr
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About

Ditchling Beacon, has to be the jewel of East Sussex.

It lies on the South Downs Way, a few miles north of Brighton and just south of the villages of Ditchling and Westmeston. At 248 metres above sea-level, Ditchling Beacon is the highest point in East Sussex and offers commanding 360 degree views from its summit. Look south out to sea, north across the Weald or east-west across the Downs.

Ditchling Beacon was once the site for a warning beacon that was maintained ready to light in times of imminent invasion.

The site is also of archaeological interest, with remains of an Iron Age hillfort.

Ditchling Down lies to the west of Ditchling Beacon, and is a perfect example of chalk downland, which provides a habitat for flowers such as horseshoe vetch, the food of the rare chalkhill blue butterfly.

Ditchling Beacon was given to the National Trust by Sir Steven Demetriadi in memory of his son, Flying Officer Richard Stephen Demetriadi, who was killed in action during the battle of Britain on 11 August 1940 at the age of 21. His Hurricane was shot down into the English Channel during a combat off Portland. He was a member of 601 Squadron.  

His body was washed ashore in France and he is buried in Cayeux-sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France (north of Le Treport). Demetriadi is also commemorated in his home parish church of St. Martin at Westmeston, the small village at the foot of the beacon.

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, known as the National Trust, conserves over 500 properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, such as historic houses, gardens, mills, coastline, forests, farmland, moorland, islands, castles, nature reserves, and even entire villages. It was established in 1895 and its first property was Alfriston Clergy House in East Sussex.

Many sites are in the countryside. When visiting please follow the Countryside Code. Leave only your footprints, take away only memories. If dogs are allowed, please keep them under control. Leave gates and property as you find them. Respect people, wildlife and property.

The National Trust is a registered charity and donations are gratefully received to fund important work. You may donate by clicking the Charity Link below.

Access to Ditchling Beacon is free.


Ditchling Beacon is a designated area - National Park.


Charity link
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Places to visit nearby
Blackcap   2.91 miles (4.68 km)
Lewes, East Sussex, BN7, England, UK.
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Blackcap occupies over 600 acres along the ridge of the South Downs.

Blackcap © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr

Balcombe Marsh   3.54 miles (5.70 km)
Balcombe Marsh, Oak Hall Park, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 0DH, England, UK.
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Balcombe Marsh is a nature reserve cared for and maintained by Sussex Wildlife Trust. It is closed to the public.

Balcombe Marsh © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr

Saddlescombe Farm and Newtimber Hill   3.85 miles (6.20 km)
Saddlescombe Farm and Newtimber Hill, Saddlescombe Road, Saddlescombe, Brighton, West Sussex, BN45 7DE, England, UK.
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Saddlescombe Farm is a downland farm, documented in the Domesday Book, that shows what life was like throughout the last 1,000 years.

Saddlescombe Farm and Newtimber Hill © Harald Süpfle cc

The Deneway   4.07 miles (6.56 km)
The Deneway, Tongdean Rise, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 5JF, England, UK.
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The Deneway is a nature reserve cared for and maintained by Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Please follow the

The Deneway © CJ Hughson cc

Withdean Woods   4.08 miles (6.56 km)
Withdean Woods, Tongdean Rise, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 5JF, England, UK.
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Withdean Woods is a nature reserve cared for and maintained by Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Please follow the

Withdean Woods ©

Devil's Dyke   4.41 miles (7.10 km)
Saddlescombe Farm, Saddlescombe Road, Brighton, West Sussex, BN45 7DE, England, UK.
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Devil's Dyke is, at almost a mile long, the longest, deepest and widest dry valley in the UK. The South Downs Way lies on its southern ridge.

Devil's Dyke © MTM MVP VizitIt.com arr

Preston Manor   4.43 miles (7.14 km)
Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 6SD, England, UK.
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The Preston Manor is the former Georgian manor house of the ancient Sussex village of Preston. It has 20 rooms decorated in Edwardian style, plus a walled ...

Preston Manor © BirdPhotos.com cc

Places to stay nearby
Premier Inn Burgess Hill   4.06 miles (6.54 km)
Burgess Hill Premier Inn, Charles Avenue, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 9RY, England, UK.
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The Premier Inn Burgess Hill is part of the Premier Inn group.

Premier Inn Burgess Hill

Ibis Brighton City Centre   5.25 miles (8.45 km)
Ibis Brighton City Centre, 92 Queens Rd, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3XE, England, UK.
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Ibis Brighton City Centre

Premier Inn Brighton City Centre   5.56 miles (8.95 km)
Brighton City Centre Premier Inn North Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1RE, England, UK.
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The Premier Inn Brighton City Centre is part of the Premier Inn group.

Premier Inn Brighton City Centre

Courtlands Hotel Brighton and Hove   5.65 miles (9.09 km)
19-27 The Drive, Brighton, East Sussex, BN3 3JE, England, UK.
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Courtlands Hotel Brighton and Hove

Hotel du Vin Brighton   5.75 miles (9.25 km)
Hotel du Vin Brighton, 2 Ship St, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1AD, England, UK.
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Hotel du Vin Brighton

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