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Visit Beacon Hill Nature Reserve Rottingdean

Beacon Hill in Rottingdean has been a designated nature reserve since 2005 and is owned and managed by Brighton and Hove Council. It is an area of mostly unimproved chalk grassland - not ploughed or subject to agriculture in modern history - on the edge of the South Downs and has fantastic views of the rolling downland, sea, villages and Brighton and Hove.

The flower rich grassland and shrubby edged woodland is home to wildlife including skylarks, marbled white butterflies and the county flower of Sussex the Round Headed Rampion.

Chalk grassland once covered much of the South Downs and is now a rare habitat. Referred to as Europe's rainforest, with up to 40 species of flowering plant per square metre, it supports a diverse range of insects, birds, mammals and reptiles.

Rottingdean’s windmill, which was erected in 1803, is within the boundary of the nature reserve.


  • Most of the area of the nature reserve is open access land with some young woods on the east side.

  • Rottingdean Windmill is opened to the public over some weekends during the summer months.

  • Three public bridleways cross Beacon Hill from Sheepwalk in the south, Hog Plat from the Village and the Recreation Ground to Longhill Road, Ovingdean in the north.

  • There are also several footpaths across the nature reserve.

  • Please keep your dogs under control and stick to these paths so as to minimise disturbing the skylarks.

For more information go to


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