Seaford Natural History Society
Seaford Natural History Society


Wildlife recording and surveying have been an integral part of the Society’s activities from its earliest days. As well as supporting its aims of education and awareness raising, the expertise of members was in demand. For example –

  • 1985 Society members assisted the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), in counting Moon Carrots on Seaford Head (3,800 plants)
  • 1986 Society members assisted the NCC in counting Early Spider Orchids on Beachy Head
  • 1987 Society members undertook a botanical survey of Seaford Head
  • 1988 Society members undertook a botanical survey for Lewes Railway Lands Committee

In the last few years the Society has been making renewed efforts to encourage members to note and record species that they see, with the Society itself submitting a list of notable sightings to the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre each year. The 2015 list consisted of over 100 species of which 50 were new to the area, and in 2016 there were nearly 130 of which 31 were new.

In 2011 Chris Brewer, a Society Botanist led High & Over Survey and in 2013 took over the Moon Carrot Survey to monitor the annual status of our famous local rarity. This was only undertaken a few times between the 1985 survey mentioned above, and 2013, but since then has been completed each year.

From 2015 -

  • Green Winged Orchids have been counted annually.
  • An ongoing study of species re-invasion of cleared scrub was started on Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
  • A Grassland quality survey was undertaken for the National Trust

In 2016 –

  • Members assisted an invertebrate survey by Sussex Wildlife Trust on Seaford Head LNR
  • Members recorded their sightings of Bumblebees and Shieldbugs
  • A Burnt Orchid Survey was undertaken for the National Trust
  • Society Ornithologist Colin Whiteman took over the Common Bird Survey on Seaford Head LNR
  • An initial assessment of Fungi on Seaford Head LNR by Society Chairman Jim Howell and his Wife Janet

In 2017 -

  • The establishment of a Recorder Sub-Committee of the Society
  • A Reptile and Amphibian Survey on Seaford Head LNR
  • A Butterfly recording group has formed to begin local surveying
  • A complete list of all wildlife species with positive records on the whole of Seaford Head LNR has been produced

In 2018 -

  • Database developed of all moths recorded within the Parish of Seaford

In 2019 -

  • Began surveying butterflies on Friston Gallops for Natural England

  • Butterfly Surveys

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Seaford Head

The Society is compiling records of various species on Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve. Current records include:


Search Species List

The Society included an article on it's recording activities on Seaford Head in Adastra, the annual magazine that accompanied the Sussex Recorder’s Conference 2018. A copy of the article can be found here

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South Barn Dew Pond Restoration Project

Early in 2022, the Society instigated a project to restore the dew pond at South Hill Barn, on Seaford Head.

Reports on this project can be found here.


Here are some photographic galleries of fauna and flora at the pond.

Bees Bugs Birds Butterflies Dragonflies Flies Hoverflies Moths Spiders Plants Other

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Butterflies Surveys

Here are some reports on Butterfly Surveys undertaken by the Society.


Here is an analysis of the peak months for observing butterflies, by species.


This was produced by analysing all available observation records received from SxBRC since the year dot, covering the whole Seaford area, not just Seaford Head. It is based on number of observation occasions, not abundance.

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Surveys at High And Over

Results of Surveys undertaken at High And Over in 2011, led by Chris Brewer, may be viewed here


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Seaford Parish Moth Project

Following the interest in Moth Trapping events on Seaford Head LNR, in October 2018 The Society purchased a top-of-the-range Moth Trap to support and encourage an increase in local moth recording. To go with the trap we provide information on its use, and have established guidance on moth identification, as well as a process to enable identification of ‘difficult’ species. The trap is available to Society Members on free loan by contacting Clare Mayers (

A list of all Seaford Head moths already existed (248 species by December 2018), and this has now been developed into a database that expands this list to include every moth species that has ever been officially recorded from within the whole Civil Parish of Seaford (492 species by December 2018). Established and new recorders are encouraged to have their sightings registered and validated for inclusion in the Seaford Parish Moth List, which we hope will expand significantly over the coming seasons.

Moth lists and reports for Seaford Parish and LNR at various dates can be found here.


A list of moths found at Abbots Wood in August 2019 can be found here.

A commentary on some the raw moth data for the urban area of Seaford together with a map of Seaford Civil Parish showing locations of moth records can be found here.

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Moon Carrot Survey

Moon Carrot (Seseli libanotis) is a rare plant in the UK and is found on a few sites near the coast in East Sussex and a couple of sites in East Anglia.

The Society has been conducting regular surveys of Moon Carrot at Hope Gap.

A report on this activity can be seen here.

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White Helleborine Survey

In 2020, Society members Janet and Jim Howell, surveyed White Helleborines and Fungi in Friston Forest. Their report can be accessed here.

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Seaford White-letter Hairstreak Initiative  

The White-letter Hairstreak is an uncommon butterfly that lives out its whole life-cycle in mature English and Wych Elm trees. Consequently it has suffered major number reductions as a result of Dutch Elm Disease.

The East Sussex coast it a stronghold for disease-free Elms, especially Brighton and Hove, and there are many healthy trees in Seaford. This initiative, led by Jamie Burston, the Butterfly Conservation Champion for this species in Sussex, and Sussex Wildlife Trust, (SWT), aims to educate and encourage local people to identify and monitor the health of Elm trees in Seaford, and to record observations of the Hairstreak.

On Tuesday June 26th 2018, Jamie, along with Michael Blencowe of SWT and co-author of the recently published ‘The Butterflies of Sussex’ kicked off the initiative in Seaford with a well- supported walk, identifying Elms and locating the butterflies.

Seaford Natural History Society strongly supports this initiative, and its aims, not only to build up a database of valuable information, but to inform Seaford Tree Wardens of the location of diseased trees for replacement with disease-resistant varieties or other management.

Follow this link for maps of known mature Elm trees in Seaford, and how to contribute to this important valuable initiative.

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