Sunday, 9 August 2009

Chanctonbury Ring to Cissbury Ring and environs W. Sussex 9th August 2009

We returned to West Sussex for our second attempt to walk the chalkdowns between the two iron age hill-forts Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings. This time the weather remained on our side.
The paths between Chanctonbury and Cissbury Rings have long swathes of greater willowherd Epilobium hirsutum most of which have gone over to seed, although some of the plants along the South Downs Way were seen to be still in flower.
Epilobium hirsutum in seed (inset) and in flower (below)

A flowering mint plant Mentha sp. caught our eye for the abundance of invertebrates that it attracted including bright metallic green flies, butterflies, solitary bees and other species such as the unidentified insect above.

comma butterfly Polygonum c-album

mint moth Pyrausta aurata

Flax sp. believed to be Linaceae bienne

Birds of note on the day were up to five buzzards Buteo buteo, three kestrel Falco tinnunculus, yellowhammer Emberiza cintrinella, large flocks of greenfinch Carduelis chloris, a single corn bunting Miliaria calandra, common whitethroat Sylvia communis and the biggest surprise of the day a solitary fem. marsh harrier Circus aeruginosis hawking over the wheat fields and drawing much attention from the local flocks of corvidae.

Chanctonbury Hill also features a dewpond managed by the National Trust on a SSSI site. Built in 1870 it was restored 100 years later by the Society of Sussex Downsman.

Chanctonbury Hill Dewpond


  1. Looks like a splendid walk.
    Your red and black beetle on the mint may be Rhagonycha fulva - a small soldier beetle I see a lot of on the umbellifers.

  2. Cheers Rambling Rob - I'll look the beetle up, just don't know where to start with some of these critters !