Fairmile Bottom Nature Reserve

Visit Fairmile Bottom.

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A 1km sweep of wildflower-rich grassland, backed by yew woods, near Slindon, with views over pastures and hedgerows.


Starting September 2023: Works to remove selected trees and scrub will be carried out in the main grassland area. This is part of a planned programme of works to restore the chalk grassland. During this time please:

- be extra vigilant
- follow instructions on any signage
- follow instructions from the contractors.

Fairmile Bottom Local Nature Reserve and site of special scientific interest contains chalk grassland and yew and beech woodland. Chalk grassland is one of our richest natural habitats, traditionally managed by grazing. Nationally about 80 per cent has been lost in the last 60 years, so this is an important site.

It is rich in flowers, including scented wild herbs such as basil, thyme and marjoram. Ten orchid species have been found here, including Bee, Pyramidal and Fly. Other colourful finds include Small Scabious and delicate nodding harebells.

Butterflies include Silver-washed Fritillary, Grizzled Skipper and White Admiral. The grassland buzzes with grasshoppers. The anthills in the grassland and decaying branches in the surrounding trees make this a great place to see Green Woodpeckers.

As well as yew and European beech, the woodland features oaks, ash, coppiced hazel and sweet chestnut. A range of impressive fungi thrive on the woodland’s decaying matter. A rare species of flat bark beetle depends on the beech trees and is known from just a handful of sites in the UK.

We have reintroduced traditional cattle grazing to conserve this site's special downland flora and fauna, characteristic of the South Downs National Park.

Be Tick-Aware

When out and about in the countryside, please be Tick-Aware. Find NHS guidelines about Lyme’s disease and tick awareness.

Getting around

Our local breed of Sussex cattle are grazing on the main chalk grassland through to August. This conservation grazing benefits chalk grassland habitat and will support a range of specialist wildlife species, including wildflowers and insects.

Please keeps dogs under effective control.


Parking for this site is in lay-bys on the A29. There is a site information board by one of the lower gates onto the grassland, adjacent to the A29.

There are no toilets or other facilities on the site.

Explore nearby

Footpaths from Fairmile Bottom continue into Rewell Wood to the south and east and Houghton Forest to the north-east.

Find us


The network of footpaths and bridleways in the area connect the site to Madehurst, Slindon, Houghton and Arundel (2½ miles away). The Monarch’s Way passes nearby the site, following Charles II’s escape route from Worcester to Shoreham-by-Sea.

By bike

A bridleway from central Arundel (2½ miles) passes through the site.

By train

Nearest train stations are Amberley (3 miles on foot or bike) and Arundel (3½ miles on foot or bike). 

By car

There is limited layby parking at the site alongside the A29 between its junction with the A284 (Whiteways roundabout) and Slindon.