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West Sussex

Little Owls Athene noctua ©George McCarthy Website

West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering East Sussex (with Brighton and Hove) to the east, Hampshire to the west and Surrey to the north, and to the south the English Channel. Chichester in the southwest is the county town and only city in West Sussex, with the largest towns being Crawley, Worthing and Horsham.

West Sussex has a range of scenery, including weald, downs and coast. The highest point of the county is Blackdown, at 280 metres (919 ft). Over half the county is protected countryside.

West Sussex, being blessed with numerous different habitats, from chalky downland to the great woodland of the Weald; and from the rare sandy heathland of the Greensand Belt through to the bird-friendly harbours and river valleys nearer the coast, has many reserves. They range in habitat from estuarine (Rye Harbour), wetlands & woods (Woods Mill), scrub (Ebernoe Common), grassland (Ditchling Beacon), chalk grassland of the south downs (Malling Down) to lowland heath (Old Lodge).

Top Sites

Chichester Harbour


Satellite View

Chichester Harbour over 3,700 ha of saltmarsh, mudflats and open water, is of critical importance to migrating and wintering wildfowl and waders. These include up to 4% of the world population of Dark-bellied Brent Geese Branta b. bernicla. Nearly a third of the site is in Hampshire.

Pagham Harbour


Satellite View

Pagham Harbour although only a sixth of the area of Chichester Harbour, is deservedly one of the top birdwatching sites in England.

Pulborough Brooks


Satellite View

Pulborough Brooks attracts hordes of humans, but also thousands of wintering wildfowl.

County Recorder

Mark Mallalieu

29 Cobbetts Mead, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3TQ

01444 441425


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 384

(Old Vice-County - both East & West Sussex)

Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites in Sussex

Adrian Thomas & Peter Francis (2003). 192 pages, 57 sites, and includes sections on The Sussex Birding Year, Seawatching in Sussex, Best Sites for Wheelchair Users and Public Transport, and the Sussex Bird List. £14.50 from Buckingham Press. buck.press@btinternet.com, 01733 561739.

ISBN: 0953384063

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Sussex

Paul James (1996) (Sussex Ornithological Society). Price ?23.50 including p.& p. from Mrs I.M. Simpson, Hardanger, Littleworth, Partridge Green, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 8JE

ISBN: 0952846608

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Don Taylor, Jeffrey Wheatley and Paul James - 432 pages, 35 line illus, 54 maps. Christopher Helm 2009

ISBN: 9781408105856

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Sussex

Michael Shrubb Hardcover - 366 pages (1979) Phillimore & Co Ltd

ISBN: 0850333261

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Sussex Bird Report

Sussex Bird Reports are published each year by the Sussex Ornithological Society and copies are available from John Trowell, Lorrimer, Main Road, Icklesham, Nr. Winchelsea, Sussex TN36 4BS. (01424 813722)

Useful Information

County Bird: Stonechat Saxicola torquata

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Chichester Harbour Water Tours

Boat Trips

2 hours bird watching trips. Visit this area of outstanding beauty on the Sussex coast. A boat trip with Chichester Harbour Water Tours enables you to see much of this unspoilt area from the water, from the narrow harbour mouth between Sandy Point Hayling Island and East Head to the Dell Quay, Bosham, Thorny Island and Emsworth channels. once afloat you will be able to appreciate that the indented harbour shoreline of which there is 48 miles, includes a wide variety of habitats these are sand dunes, mudflats, shingle banks and woods all valuable refuges for seabirds and other interesting wildlife…

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.


Sussex Wildlife Trust


Sussex Wildlife Trust was formed in 1961 and now has more than 10,000 members. They manage some of the finest sites in Sussex as nature reserves and have 38 reserves covering some of the finest ancient woodlands in Western Europe, spectacular chalk downland, heathlands, grazing marsh and wild flower meadows.

Sussex Ornithological Society


All enquiries to the Sussex Ornithological Society to be sent to secretary@sos.org.uk


The Booth Museum


The Booth Museum is all about birds, butterflies, fossils, and bones. Founded as a Victorian collector's private museum, the Booth Museum now brings natural history to life with interactive displays and hands on activities.


RSPB - Pulborough Brooks


Satellite View

In the scenic but easily accessible Arun valley, the RSPB has restored wet grassy meadows, which flood in winter. Controlled flooding gives a refuge to thousands of ducks, geese, swans and wading birds. Many breed in the summer, along with songbirds such as nightingales, and many colourful butterflies…

WWT - Arundel


Satellite View

Stroll around our beautiful grounds 60 acres, with six hides overlooking wildlife hotspots. Meander along the boardwalk through our extensive reedbed…

Chichester Harbour Conservancy


Satellite View

Chichester Harbour Conservancy is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comprising 11 square miles of water and 11 square miles of land with 17 miles of well marked and lighted channels which, with its easy access to the Solent, makes it an ideal water recreation centre. There are many inter-related activities such as sailing, fishing, walking and wildfowling as well as nearly 9,000 vessels over 3 metres in length, 3,200 moorings, 2,000 berths in four marinas and 14 sailing clubs…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Adur Valley wildlife eForum

Mailing List

To post to list: adur@yahoogroups.com

List contact: adur-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: adur-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Forum for discussion about the Adur Valley, Sussex, England. In the lower valley the geographical area includes all of the Adur District, including Shoreham-by-Sea, Sompting, Lancing, Coombes, and also towns not covered by Adur Council including Botolphs, Upper Beeding, Bramber, Steyning, Small Dole, Shermanbury etc. See also: http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur.htm

Other Links

Adur Valley Wildlife


From the turn of the century the creeping permanent development and re-development of the natural fringing beach at Shoreham has gradually covered the main shingle bank, leaving a narrow strip, squeezed between houses and sea. This flat strip of seemingly lifeless pebbles that has once more held out against a winter sea, is set to surprise and delight us, as seeds and roots of last years flowering respond to longer days, and find nourishment and moisture. In April and early May they burst upon us with a brilliant flowering border adapted to the harsh conditions…

Loder Valley Reserve


Wakehurst Place Gardens and the Loder Valley Reserve occupy nearly 200 hectares (500 acres) and offer a wide range of habitats to breeding and visiting birds…

Brent Lodge Bird & Wildlife Trust


Brent Lodge is a bird and wildlife hospital, founded in 1978. It is dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured wild creatures, specialising in birds and small mammals. The hospital is located near to Chichester in the South of England, on a site of one and three-quarter acres. With its range of indoor and outdoor pens, and attendant medical and surgical facilities, it is one of the best wildlife hospitals in the U.K. Brent Lodge is a registered charity and depends entirely upon voluntary help and donations.

Garry Bagnell's Birding World


Diary, trip reports, photographs & my birding stats…

Whitby's Imaging Centre


Photographic supplier and processor in Chichester West Sussex.

Sussex Wildlife Trust Reserves


We look after over 30 nature reserves across Sussex. These sites cover over 1800 hectares (4500 acres) and are some of the best places to see wildlife in Sussex. Click here for a map showing all of the Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserves...

Sussex Falconry


Sussex Falconry provides private & personal experiences where you are the only customer on the day. This means you will receive all the attention, handling & flying which overall, will provide a complete experience.

Squirrel Ban


Squirrel Ban, GardenXtras, Chartwell House, Chartwell Road, Lancing Industrial Estate, Lancing, West Sussex BN15 8TY - 01903 761222 - First and foremost squirrel ban is a high-quality, highly nutritional mix of bird feed containing kibbled maize, red dari, wheat, black sunflower, small striped sunflower, white millet, chopped peanuts, red millet, naked oats and Cillimega™…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - George McCarthy


George McCarthy is recognised as one of the UK's leading professional nature photographers. He is also an author, a lecturer, a tour leader and a consultant specialising in British wildlife and the countryside…

Photographer - Roger Wilmhurst


Wildlife has fascinated me from early childhood. My mother used to say I watched birds from the pram…

Photographer - Sue Robinson


I am lucky to live on the High Weald in the wonderful county of West Sussex in England, an hour away from the South Coast, the South Downs and with the whole of the county to explore. Many of my images are of wildlife or scenes in West and East Sussex…

Photographer - Leigh Prevost