Sussex

Extinction

Ivell’s sea anemone (Edwardsia ivelli) is the only know endemic animal to be known to have gone extinct (probably) in Britain in modern times. It has not been found since 1983 despite detailed searches at its only known site, Widewater Lagoon in West Sussex. Read

Tallest native tree in Britain

A 144ft beech tree in the South Downs is thought to be almost 200 years old and in 2015 was named Britain’s tallest native tree. The tree is in Newtimber Woods on the National Trust’s Devil’s Dyke Estate in West Sussex. Read

Wildlife-friendly Brighton

Brighton is a wildlife haven, with a small but thriving population of badgers and the huge gathering of roosting starlings on Palace pier. The Guardian

The Knepp Castle Estate rewilding project

The Knepp Estate in Sussex’s Low Weald is carrying out an interesting project in rewilding aimed at transforming a 3500 acre traditional estate with agriculture and forestry into a wild ecosystem.

Knepp is also reckoned to be the best place in Britain to see emperor butterflies, a holy grail for British lepidopterists. The site organises highly recommended expert-guided butterfly safaris in late June and July.

Cold Comfort Farm

The journalist Stella Gibbons parodied the genre of idealised countryside-based novels mercilessly in her classic satire Cold Comfort Farm (1932) set on Suffolk farm.

Hundred Acre Wood and Ashdown Forest

The Hundred Acre Wood famously inhabited by Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the children’s stories by A. A. Milne is based on the real-life Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest. Milne lived on the northern edge of the forest and took his son, Christopher Robin, for walks in the area.

Ashdown is a patchwork of woodland and healthland, the latter the largest expanse remaining in south-east England.

The Forest Centre at Wych Cross has an exhibition on the fascinating history of the forest, worked intensively by the charcoal industry until the 1960s.

Worst avalanche in British history

The worst known avalanche in British history occurred on 27 December 1836 in Lewes. when a huge amount of snow built up on a chalk cliff above the town swept down 100 metres below, destroying a row of cottages and killing eight people. More here

A pub built on the site of the destroyed houses was named the Snowdrop Inn in commemoration of the incident and still is open today.

snowdrop

Oldest known nest site of Peregrine Falcons in urban Britain

Chichester Cathedral is home to the oldest known nest site of peregrine falcons in Britain. More here