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Superb chalk grassland and scrub with many typical and rare flowers and butterflies, all within easy walking distance of Lewes town centre

The car park at Mill Road is closed for refurbishment until 9th February and the lay-by is also shut.


Stand almost anywhere in Lewes and Malling Down dominates the view to the east, its chalk hills towering up and overlooking the town. It really is worth the challenging climb to the top, if only for the view that takes in the town, the wet meadows surrounding the River Ouse, the South Downs stretching away, or the expanse of the Low Weald farmland. In summer however, there are a thousand things to command the attention.


larger location map
nature reserve map (pdf)
town: Lewes
postcode: BN8 5AA
grid ref: TQ423112
lat long: N 50.883213
E 0.022236


78 hectares

Further information

Nature Reserve guide entry (pdf)

Nature reserve leaflet

Species Recording Form

Sussex Downs Society

Butterfly Conservation Society

Public transport information

Traveline 0870 6082608

Nearby Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves


Ditchling Beacon

Withdean Woods

Getting around

This reserve is easily reached on foot from Lewes town centre head east and there is a small entrance in Wheatsheaf Gardens opposite the petrol station, but there is no room to park cars here. Other access points are possible from Mill Road or the lay-by on the Ringmer Road. As there is grazing at different times of the year, there are fences, gates and stiles, and some paths are very steep. The gentlest route to the top is to approach from Mill Road.

Lewes-Ringmer Cycle Path Extention

East Sussex County Council made a start on a long-awaited extension to the Lewes-Ringmer cycle path at the beginning of October, and in the process will complete a key link between these two settlements. The Trust has supported this project throughout and, for example, has made some of its land available to enable construction to go ahead.

We expect construction to run until late January, during which time regrettably, the lay-by at the northern end of the reserve will be closed off. There is still access on foot through this point, but no space for cars. Once the project is completed, the lay-by will be re-surfaced and re-opened for use.

If you have any queries about the project, please contact Alan Cook at East Sussex County Council.

What you can see

Chalk grassland flowers. Many butterflies such as adonis, common and chalkhill blue. Fabulous views, peace and tranquillity.

Click here to see which butterflies to look out for in July and August

(33kb pdf)

Ray Mears visits Malling Down in search of the Adonis blue

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