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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Old Lodge Nature Reserve, Ashdown Forest. Nuthatch. 21.03.22

I went with a friend to Old Lodge Nature Reserve in Ashdown Forest. For details of the reserve see: Old Lodge | Sussex Wildlife Trust

Old Lodge lies in the heart of Ashdown Forest, and its character is subtly but noticeably different from the true lowland heath of Iping Common. The geology is slightly different, but more importantly it sits about 500 feet higher, and that’s enough to make it markedly cooler. Old Lodge has something of the ‘feel’ of a place one might associate with the north west of Britain.

The year starts early at Old Lodge with the beauti­ful, flutey song of woodlark in January. This will be joined in the spring by tree pipit, cuckoo and redstart – a species that can certainly compete with the resident stonechat for awards in plumage. In winter the lesser redpoll and siskin are more apparent as are the occasional, marauding gangs of common crossbills Old Lodge | Sussex Wildlife Trust

We had come particularly to Crossbills as there were sightings listed for the last few days on the Sussex Ornithological Society Recent Sightings Page. We didn't see any Crossbills but we did see: Chiffchaffs, a Nuthatch, a male Stonechat, a female Chaffinch, a Dunnock, some Robins and some Carrion Crows; and we heard a Raven.

We also saw Belted Galloway cattle and Exmoor Ponies, both used for conservation grazing in the reserve.

It was a delightfully warm and sunny spring day.

Belted Galloway Cattle


Exmoor Ponies


Female Chaffinch




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