Over hundreds of years Beacon Hill was part of a nibbled landscape. When sheep grazing died out rabbits helped to keep the grass short. The dry conditions and thin, poor soil suit many species of wild flowering plants.
The flowering cycle begins in March/April with Common Dog Violets, quickly followed by nodding Cowslips. When early summer arrives, the hill comes into flower. Of the many common wild flowers of old pasture, you are likely to see here, there is Yellow Rattle, Yarrow, Lady’s Bedstraw & Bird’s Foot Trefoil , to name but a few. Some species are found exclusively on Chalk Grassland. If you look closely among the fine leaved grasses, you are sure to see the Round Headed Rampion, known as our ‘Pride of Sussex’; Small Scabious, the creamy white Dropwort & Hoary Plantain.
As the late summer season progresses, purple Knapweed comes into flower, Spear Thistle and Burdocks too. Early
in the year they form rosettes of leaves – good cover for a small spiral snail, Cochicella Acuta, that only lives on southern chalklands.
Fescue Downland grasses and plants come together on Beacon Hill to form a rich landscape to be enjoyed.