Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve is the most prestigious area of biodiversity management in the Borough of Hastings, East Sussex.

The reserve consists of Hastings Cliffs Special Area of Conservation, Hastings Cliffs to Pett Beach Site of Special Scientific Interest and Hastings Country Park, as well as heritage designations such as scheduled ancient monument. The site is renowned as an area of archaeological importance.

All the various designations and land uses were brought together under the Local Nature Reserve designation in 2006 to provide a focus for future management.

The reserve is a beautiful area of ancient gill woodland, maritime cliff and slope, cliff top grassland and mixed heather, lowland meadow and sustainably managed farmland, all sitting with the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The nature reserve covers 345 hectares (853 acres) of coastal gill woodlands, open pasture and cliff top grassland, together with five kilometres of dramatic soft rock cliffs and coastline.

Some of the most stunning views of the south east coast can be experienced from the cliff tops. On clear days there are spectacular views overlooking the coastline from Beachy Head to Dungeness and as far afield as Folkestone and the coast of France.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of the site to wildlife conservation on a national, international and local context. The site is an outstanding area for birdwatching with many species breeding throughout the various habitats.

Many rare and scarce liverworts, mosses and lichens occur within the gills. Peregrines, black redstarts and fulmars breed on the cliffs. Dartford warblers, stonechats and yellowhammers breed on the gorse covered hillsides.

Many migrants pass through the site in spring and autumn and usually include a few rarities such as Sardinian warbler, red-rumped swallow, and Pallas’s warbler which have all occurred in recent years.

A large population of dormice occur within the woodland areas here. Stoats and weasels are also seen regularly and bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise can be seen occasionally offshore from clifftop watch points.

An amazing diversity of invertebrates live on the cliff habitats and within the heathland and acid grassland including some species which occur in very few other places in Britain.

The cliffs are rich in fossils and have yielded many specimens of dinosaur, pterosaurs, turtles crocodiles and plesiosaurs. The site is one of only a handful in the world to have produced early mammal fossils.

Location

Postcode: TN35 5PB

Latitude / Longitude: 50.8593743, 0.6007177

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