Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page

 Adur Flood Plain
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Adur Valley Wildlife

South Downs:  Beeding Hill
including Anchor Bottom and meadows 
and Golding Barn area
SSSI site

Beeding Hill the high point on the downs near Shoreham is 169 metres (554 feet) above sea level. 

Wild Flower Gallery
Photographs by Andy Horton

Photograph by Andy Horton
 Greater Knapweed

Cycling Route to Mill Hill
Friends of Lancing Ring (External Link)

Ray Hamblett's Mill Hill & Beeding Hill web page (with photographs of orchids and other wild plants). This page contains a photograph of a male Chalkhill Blue Butterfly.

Downs around the Adur Valley


Anchor Bottom 2006

14 June 2005
We saw one Meadow Brown and two Large Skippers at Golding Barn (north of Beeding Hill) in unsuitable breezy conditions. 

Report by Jim Steedman

11 May 2005
The green orchid-like Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, was growing on the verges just north of Beeding Hill car park beside the path on the way to Golding Barn. This all green plant can be quite difficult to discover.

Report by Jim Hoare (Sussex Downsmen)

24 April 2005
During a brief spell of weak sunshine, a Brimstone Butterfly, one Peacock and one Holly Blue were seen at the back of Dacre Gardens at the foot of Anchor Bottom, and a probable Small White and probable Large White Butterfly at the top on the north side. There were cow pats on the steep 45° slopes on the northern face. The pasture was mostly grass and lacked flora of interest. 
Adur Butterfly List 2005
A Skylark sang from the air on the way to Mill Hill

26 March 2005
An Osprey was seen  flying north over Beeding Hill at 11:30 am.

Report from Stanley Allen on Sussex Ornithological Society News

4 March 2005
Looking from the Grinstead Lane bridge, Lancing, towards the north-east, a thin coating of snow has settled on Truleigh Hill on the far side of the Adur valley gap. The distant hills backing Brighton are all coated in white.

21 July 2004
Cows were grazing on the upper slopes of the field that includes Anchor Bottom and there seemed to be wet cow pats near the Dacre Gardens entrance at Upper Beeding, where two Marbled White Butterflies were seen. Scabious was commonly growing on the slopes. I am not clear about identifying the Field Scabious and Small Scabious, but these ones had rudimentary leaves like the few on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
A Kestrel flew of the top of the ridge, where there were a few Rooks, a Magpie and a Jackdaw

29 June 2004
Access to Anchor Bottom is possible from the north end of Dacre Gardens at Upper Beeding. This is the famous area for the Green-winged Orchids, but they were no longer in flower. This orchid is still present in thousands. 

It is an undergrazed cow pasture with long grasses, clovers, but also Pyramidal Orchids, Yellow Wort, Restharrow, Selfheal, and other calicoles. 

Restharrow  (not the Common Vetch)

Small Heath Butterflies are found here and there were at least 15, slightly more than the number of Meadow Browns, with a a few Small Tortoiseshells and at least one Common Blue Butterfly
Adur Butterfly List 2004

13 June 2004
I saw about half-a-dozen brand-new Large Skippers at Golding Barn, near Upper Beeding. 

Report by Jim Steedman

25 May 2004
The first Common Blue Butterfly of 2004 was spotted in the buttercup strewn field north-west of Beeding Hill car park.

Common Blue Butterfly on the Adur Levels at Beeding Cement Works

Almost immediately afterwards I saw what looked more like an Adonis Blue on the top slopes of Anchor Bottom. Anchor Bottom was decorated in yellow but this was from buttercups (possibly Creeping Cinquefoil) not Horseshoe Vetch (food plant of caterpillars of the Adonis Blue) but despite the absence (maybe scarcity) of the food plant this identification is probable. A minute or two later on the chalk and flint lane from Beeding Hill to Castletown, a Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered around the bushes that lined each side of the bridleway. 

Skylarks were in song and flight over the downs and a dozen or so Rooks probed the soil on Beeding Hill with their silver beaks. 

A small ladybird on a Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (Geranium) was a tiny (2 mm long) yellow beetle with black spots. The most likely species is the Sixteen-spot Ladybird, Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata.
British Insects Yahoo Group
The Coleopterist
British Beetles Yahoo Group
Adur Ladybirds

10 May 2004
East of Mill Hill, the first Rook appeared, followed by a pair east of Erringham Hill, and at Anchor Bottom and Beeding Hill to the north over 300 Rooks probed in the grasslands. Alas, the cow pasture at Anchor Bottom was just dried cow pats (without the cows) and attendant mushrooms
There were scores of these dome-shaped Panaeolus sphinctrinus mushrooms by the dried cow pats.

Historically, the exposed west facing escarpment of Anchor Bottom had a reputation for butterflies, but there was a complete* absence of both Horseshoe Vetch and Bird's Foot Trefoil (the important food plants for blue butterflies). (* I searched acres of ground and fastened my binoculars on any hints of yellow, which included Silverweed and Cowslips.) The only butterfly on the downs was a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on an Oil Seed Rape flower on the edge of an arable field. At the foot of the South Downs Way path as it crosses the Steyning to Shoreham road, my first Orange Tip Butterfly of the year fluttered by, the flicker of the orange wing tips of the male pleasing to observe.  (* Later, Jim Hoare was able to discover patches of Horseshoe Vetch on the path going north to Golding Barn where the livestock cannot graze.) 

Photograph by Jan Hamblett16 April 2004
On the unadopted, chalk and very flinty road from Beeding Hill to Castletown, there was the yellow fluttering of a Brimstone Butterfly and a clump of Cowslips.

6 July 2003
Late in the afternoon whilst cycling on the bridleway to the south east 
of Beeding Hill, I heard one male Quail calling very distantly to the south
west. (TQ 220 093)

Report from Dave Green on Sussex Ornithological Society News

14 June 2003
As I climbed the steep path from the South Downs Way Footbridge over the Adur to Beeding Hill I heard the Skylarks in song and saw their familiar outlines in the sky. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies increased in frequency and I must have spotted 30 but some could be the same butterfly following me. There was just a solitary faded Painted Lady Butterfly that landed in front of me. 

Fragrant Orchid (Photograph by Andy Horton)Top half of Anchor Bottom (near Beeding Hill) from the meadow to the NE

The photograph above shows the grazed meadow that contained a few battered Pyramid Orchids, Anacamptis pyramidalis, and a handful of better condition Fragrant Orchids, Gymnadenia conopsea. Kidney Vetch, Anthyllis vulneraria, were noticeable.

On the roadside verges at the top of the hill in the picture, I saw a handful of the first Meadow Brown Butterflies of 2003.

22 April 2003
A Pheasant was feeding in a stubble field (west side) on the way up to Beeding Hill from Mill Hill

Dingy Skipper (Photograph by Andy Horton)

20 April 2003
Dingy Skipper Butterfly was seen by the side of the Industrial Estate at Golding Barn near Upper Beeding (near Steyning) in the Adur valley on a breezy overcast Easter Sunday morning. This species is not often recorded, although it it is known from Mill Hill

Report by Jim Steedman via the UK-Leps EForum


19 October 2002
Six Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen between Beeding Hill and Truleigh Hill.

Report by Allen Pollard via the UK-Leps EForum

31 August 2001
On an overcast day, following a shower, a Small Copper Butterfly was seen at Beeding Hill flying rapidly over towards Anchor Bottom, skirting the hedgerows on the bumpy lane down to Castletown, where a Speckled Wood Butterfly in reasonably good condition settled. 

12 September 2000
Common Blue (Photograph by Andy Horton)A few female  Common Blue Butterflies were seen near Beeding Hill. 
This is a female Common Blue.  The white flecks on the wings are typical of female Common Blues found on calcareous soils.  Andrew Daw.

Three or four species of  Dragonflies hawked/darted over the Downs. In order of frequency, they appear to be (subject to confirmation):
Sympetrum striolatum

Emperor Dragonfly (frequent 30+) Anax imperator
(Some of these could have been the Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta on reflection. However, despite the late in the year flying time, the size of the Emperor should make them unmistakable, so they were probably present.)
Common Darter (frequent 70+) Sympetrum striolatum
(Some were blue-grey  the others orange-brown and red)
British Dragonfly Society
UK Dragonflies Yahoo Group
Adur Damselflies & Dragonflies
European Dragonflies Picture Gallery

11 June 2000
Martin Davies surprised a Roe Deer when cycling between Truleigh Hill and New Erringham Farm over the downs route to Mill Hill. It was in the arable field on the east side near Beeding Hill.


Adur Butterflies
 Small Tortoiseshell  Aglais urticae
 Clouded Yellow  Colias croceus
 Meadow Brown  Maniola jurtina
 Marbled White  Melanargia galathea
 Large White  Pieris brassicae
 Gatekeeper  Pyronia tithonus
 Speckled Wood  Pararge aegeria
 Small Copper  Lycaena phlaes
 Painted Lady  Vanessa cardui
 Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus
 Small Heath  Coenonympha pamphilus
 Adonis Blue  Polyommatus bellargus


Adur Valley
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View over the River Adur (by Ray Hamblett)