Sompting Brooks Nature Trail

Sompting Brooks Nature Trail is located at the south end of Loose Lane, Sompting BN15 0DQ, and is open all year round.

Access is on foot only from the south end of Loose Lane. Do not park outside the flats at the end of Loose Lane as this area is reserved for local residents. Park along Loose Lane before the junction with Sylvan Road or preferably come by foot, bicycle or via public transport (the number 7 bus stops just outside the entrance).

The path is a farm track laid in sections with gravel and is somewhat uneven. Access might be difficult for wheelchairs or buggies, particularly in the winter.

The meadow area is about 6 HA with native wetland flowers and grasses in the new stream bank meadows, native wildflower meadow mixes in the former arable meadows.

We have used Emorsgate EM4 Meadow Mixture for wetter soil areas and Emorsgate EM5 for the drier and/or more loamy areas. Both mixes contain a good range of the wild flowers and grasses once common in unimproved flower-rich lowland meadows.

Former arable meadows are managed by regular grazing/cutting outside of flowering season, and the wetland meadows are seasonally controlled by volunteers (hand pulling/cutting) of over vigorous species as needed.

The wildflower meadow and stream banks now host four species of orchid; Southern March Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal and Bee Orchid.

We have regular River Ranger volunteers sessions at the EPIC project site at Sompting Brooks. These run on the 3rd Sunday of the month and include seasonal habitat maintenance activities such as reed cutting, tree mulching & channel clearing.

For more information about volunteering, please email to join the River Ranger list.

Steepdown Hill Local Wildlife Site

Steepdown Hill Local Wildlife Site is a field on Lychpole Farm, 900m east of Beggars Bush car park, Sompting BN15 0AY, where Titch Hill Road meets Steyning Bostal Road.

CROW Act Open Access Areas are nearly always open but please refer to maps to identify which field is the Open Access Area.

Access to the site is 900m of rough track and then a steep hill slope on which livestock may be present. Unfortunately, this site is not accessible for some disabilities due to the path being very rough and the hillside very steep and uneven.

The only Parking is at Beggars Bush car park, do not drive into the farmhouses area at this postcode. If that is full, park in North Sompting residential area and walk up the footpaths from Herbert Road west then north. Access into the field is via the public footpath.  For your safety please only enter fields where a public footpath is indicated.

The site is about 10Ha with Cowslips and Harebells often flowering on this ancient species rich chalk grassland.

The site is managed by the Farmer with regular grazing outside of the flowering season, and occasional control of scrub as needed.

Seed collection is not allowed as this is a designated Local Wildlife Site and the seed should stay where it is to sustain populations.

Steepdown Hill LWS is ancient chalk grassland; it was too steep to be mechanically ploughed and fertilised when so much wildflower-rich chalk downland was ploughed to feed the nation after World War II.  So it is a precious survival.  The lower, flatter northwest part of the meadow was ploughed and fertilised, but Sompting Estate and our Lychpole Farm tenants have reverted it to unfertilised grassland.  We hope that over years to come, the cattle and sheep grazing the older parts of the meadow will bring seeds on their hooves to make that part flower-rich like the rest. 

More information on

Our future plans are to extend the flower-rich sward diversity over the former arable field in the NW corner of the site, which we have added to the LWS area for this purpose.

For more information visit Sompting Estate

Beggars Bush Wildflower Meadow

Beggars Bush wildflower meadow is located at Beggars Bush car park, Titch Hill Road, Sompting BN15 0AY.

The site is about 3500 square metres with a plethora of Chalk meadow flowers; eg birds foot trefoil, greater knapweed, restharrow, bladder campion, bristly oxtongue, ladys bedstraw, agrimony, yellow rattle. Only the last of these has been sown in. We cut and remove the grass in autumn, and spread it on the lower meadow extension area.

There are no restrictions, as it is an open access area and can be visited directly from the adjacent free public car park. Flowers are at their best in June-July.

Fly tipping and littering, and traffic speed have historically been concerns. The South Downs National Park Authority has been working with Sompting Estate and Lychpole Farm to fence and restore the flowermeadow areas and clear historic litter from the former lower carpark. 

The project is also creating a new off-road path so that walkers heading towards Cissbury can return via Lychpole Hill SSSI chalk grassland, and get back to the carpark without having to walk on the road:

The new track will in the future be maintained mechanically by Sompting Estate’s Titch Hill Farm, and manually (eg litterpicks) by volunteers from Sustainable Sussex’s Community Farm.  Where it passes through Beggars Bush Flower meadow, the Community Farm will assist with seasonal sheep grazing.

We can consider saving and sharing seeds for the future, however, for the time being we expect to need all the seed generated on site for the meadow’s southward extension.

For more information visit Sompting Estate and Sustainable Sussex