|IPA Factsheet - Lewes Downs|
Site Description This chalk grassland site consists largely of CG2 Festuca ovina – Avenula pratensis and CG3 Bromus erectus, semi-natural dry grassland and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates. This site contains an important assemblage of rare and scarce orchids, including early spider-orchid Ophrys sphegodes and musk orchid Herminium monorchis, and one of the largest colonies of burnt orchid Orchis ustulata in the UK.Lewes Downs has the particular characteristic of being an isolated area of chalk - ie geologically as well as by dint of land use.I don't know to what extent your brief in the IPA description is to include or ignore other habitats, for example, chalk cliffs, golf course or woodland blocks, fragments of which occur within the wider IPA boundaryFA’s report Lewes Downs\Lewes Downs proposed IPA .pdf
Botanical Significance IPA noted for habitat and vascular plant assemblages.
General Habitat Description Grassland and Tall Forb. Agriculture (arable); agriculture (animals); nature conservation & research; tourism/recreation. Mostly sheep grazing, some intensive. Conservation cattle grazing on reserve. Most of the area is now under HLS
Conservation Issues Lack of linkage between diverse areas of grassland. Scrub encroachment through undergrazing and agricultural inactivity are one issue and increased rabbits causing localised over grazing in some areas are another. (ST)