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Wildlife and nature

Sussex cattle and Jacob sheep grazing on Kenley Common

​Sussex cattle and Jacob sheep grazing on Kenley


From the clay-with-flint plateau to the steep chalk slopes, the range of soils (acid through to neutral and alkaline) gives Kenley its rich ecology, supporting a diverse and interesting mix of plants and animals.

Sussex cattle and Jacob sheep graze the meadows, maintaining a species-rich grassland.



Pyramidal orchids

​Pyramidal orchids

Take a stroll through the meadows in summer and be greeted by a swaying sea of colour from the deep pinks of sainfoin, pyramidal orchids and knapweed, the yellows of St John’s-wort, bird’s-foot-trefoil and greater yellow-rattle, the delicate lilacs of field scabious and the sweet scent of marjoram.

Male brimstone butterfly

​Male brimstone butterfly

This natural ‘palate’ provides a haven for butterflies and a host of other insects that gorge on nectar produced by the delicate chalk flowers. More acidic soils encourage finer grasses and flowers such as tormentil, heath bedstraw and attractive patches of harebell and cat’s ear.


Hawthorn hedgerow in flower

​Hawthorn hedgerow in flower

Hedgerow and scrub areas host valuable ‘bed and breakfast’ for a variety of birds including the yellowhammer, while the woodlands, dominated by oak, ash and beech, provide homes for tree creepers, nuthatches and sparrowhawks. 

Some of the wooded areas are ancient, characterised by bluebells and laced with yellow archangel.​

13 March 2012
Last Modified:
19 July 2019