30 Days Wild diary: Week 2 | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

30 Days Wild diary: Week 2

Tuesday, 14th June 2022

30 Days Wild diary: Week 2
Downland © David Philips

By David Philips

Guest blogger

I have a relative in Sydney, Australia who is constantly amazed at just how much variety we have in our Sussex landscapes. From Kipling's "whale backed Downs", to the fabled Ashdown Forest- immortalised in A.A. Milne's adventures of Winnie the Pooh, from Ancient Woodlands, the mediaeval landscapes and sunken lanes of the High Weald, the remote landscapes of the Pevensey Levels, the shingle habitats of Rye Harbour and of course our magnificent coastline and marine environment. Indeed, my Australian friend remarks, rather ruefully, that in Australia you often need to travel hundreds of kilometres before the scenery changes.

Old Lodge sunset

Each of our landscapes brings with it their own unique experiences, enjoyment, and wildlife interest and we are fortunate that the Sussex Wildlife Trust has built up a portfolio of the very best of these to protect for the benefit and enjoyment of us all and for generations to come. Among my favourites are Rye Harbour, Malling Down and Old Lodge - and with each visit I am reminded of just how special these places are to me and, unfortunately, how much our wildlife has declined generally in the last few decades.

Terns at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

I love to visit Rye at this time of year to witness the characteristically jinking flight of terns as they return with Sand Eels for their young or rise, as one, in a screaming cloud of swallow-tailed indignation to repel a marauding Herring or Lesser Black-backed Gull. Malling Down is my "go to " reserve for butterflies - especially the Chalkhill Blue and the somewhat rarer Silver-spotted Skipper. The reserve also provides wonderful views and tranquillity within just a mile of the county town of Lewes as well as some lung busting climbs for those that crave exercise. Old Lodge in summer means a re acquaintance with the scratchy call of Dartford Warblers, and the churring of Nightjars on warm still evenings whilst enjoying stupendous sunsets over what is possibly one of the wildest landscapes in the county. An evening spent on this wonderful heathland reserve is surely a most fitting way for anyone in today's busy world to refresh mind and body.

Silver-spotted Skipper

This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

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