If you take a wander through the Rifle Range in midsummer, you can’t help but notice the amazing variety of wild flowers that grow there. Many of these are confined to chalk grassland, an ancient community of specialist plants which supports a rich diversity of butterflies, birds and other wildlife. You can read more about it on the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership web site.
Five areas of Steyning Downland Scheme: Steyning Coombe and the North and South sides of the Rifle Range, the Secret Garden and parts of Pepperscoombe are being managed to enhance the chalk grassland habitat. Regular botany surveys are important to monitor progress and these are being carried out by teams of volunteers. Steyning Coombe and the Rifle Range have been surveyed every year since 2010, and the Secret Garden was also surveyed for the first time in 2015.
Everyone is very welcome to join in the surveys. We have a core group of keen botanists who know their stuff, so if you can’t tell a daffodil from a daisy, you can still come along and learn from the experts. To find out more, or to join in, please e-mail Petra Billings. You could also have a look at our Biodiversity Records page for more information on our past surveys.