On the 20th August 14 members and 4 children from West Sussex Co-operative Community Group attended a guided tour of Levin Down. The group of member’s was accompanied by volunteer Ann, and Mark Anscombe of Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Levin Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; indeed the reason that Levin has so much of its wildlife value still intact is hinted at in the name, which is derived from ‘Leave-Alone Hill’, meaning that the land was too steep for the plough or other intensive agriculture.
Following refreshments at ‘The Fox Goes Free Public House’, the group enjoyed a guided tour of West Sussex’s largest chalk heath, ‘Levin Down’.
Ann gave a detailed and unique tour of the nature reserve, teaching us about the unique soil type, how the downs were formed, and pointing out some of the flora and fauna found at rare chalk heath. Whilst adults passed around fossils found on site, children picked blackberries and identified butterflies from picture cards. At the top of the down the group rested their legs after a steep climb with a picnic enjoying a view over singleton and the Goodwood estate. On the descent those who were brave tried Juniper berries and recognised their distinct flavour from their use in gin.
We arrived back at Singleton to glorious sunshine, and feeling much better for the exercise and for breathing the clean country air.