The ancient woodland at the top of Brush Hill contains oak, Scots pine, larch, horse chestnut, cherry, ash, hornbeam and beech, which provide a dense, spreading canopy through the summer and beautiful golden colour in autumn.
Trees and more
Under the canopy of these bigger trees, there are holly, hawthorn, hazel, wych elm, elder, field maple, wayfaring tree and guelder rose (snowball bush). In spring, the ground is carpeted with bluebells, sweet woodruff, wood anemones, yellow archangel and dog’s mercury. Tawny owls can be heard in the evening and you might see a treecreeper, nuthatch or greater spotted woodpecker, along with speckled wood butterflies.
The mature hedgerows of hawthorn and blackthorn provide a bounty of fruit for our native animals as well as winter visitors such as redwing and fieldfare.
The downland is grazed by sheep between October and March to prevent scrub invasion and to sustain a green sward where plants such as wild thyme, cowslip, toadflax, lady’s bedstraw and pyramidal orchid can flourish. This area has been home to many species under threat across the county, including yellow meadow ants, glow-worms, chalkhill blue and small copper butterflies.
The hillside offers good aerial displays of swifts and swallows as well as resident red kites and buzzards.