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IPA Factsheet - Lewes Downs
Site code
CountryUnited Kingdom
Administrative regionSouth East (East Sussex)
Central co-ordinates50o 52' N / 0o 1' E map
Altitude9 - 138

 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

Land use

Land use% CoverLevel
agriculture (animals)Major
nature conservation and researchMinor
agriculture (arable)Minor

Threatened Species

Species NameIPA Assess.Species Assess.AbundanceData qualityCriteria

Botanical Richness

EUNIS level 2 code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.% of indicator speciesNo. SpeciesNational BiotopeData qualityCriteria
E1 Dry Grasslands2016201600unknownB

Threatened Habitats

IPA Habitat code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.AreaData qualityCriteria
6210(*) Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates(Festuco-Brometalia)20070unknownCi


DesignationProtected Area NameRelationship with IPAOverlap with IPA
Site of Special Scientific InterestLimpenhoe Meadowsprotected area overlaps with IPA0
Site of Special Scientific InterestLewes Downsprotected area overlaps with IPA131
Site of Special Scientific InterestSoutherham Works Pitprotected area overlaps with IPA1
UnknownLewes Downs BOAprotected area overlaps with IPA0
National Nature ReserveLewes Downsprotected area overlaps with IPA44
Special Area of ConservationLewes Downsprotected area overlaps with IPA131
Site of Special Scientific InterestMount Caburnprotected area contained by IPA0
Environmentally Sensitive AreaSouth Downsprotected area contains IPA271
Local Nature ReserveMalling Downprotected area contained by IPA0
Local Nature ReserveSoutherhamprotected area contained by IPA0
National Nature ReserveLewes Down (Mount Caburn)protected area overlaps with IPA44
National Nature ReserveLewes Down (Mount Caburn)protected area overlaps with IPA44


TypeDescriptionYear startedYear finishes
Other Management Plan
Protected Area Management Plan
Habitat Management PlanLowland calcareous grassland HAP2002


abandonment/reduction of land managementhigh
agricultural intensification/expansion (arable)low
agricultural intensification/expansion (grazing)low

 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)

Contact Information

ContactContact Type
Dominic PriceSite report compiler
Cath ShellswellSite report compiler