Marline Valley Local Nature Reserve
The Local Nature Reserve forms part of the larger Marline Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is made up of ancient gill woodland, sandstone outcrops and areas of lowland meadow.
The nature reserve is divided into three linked areas: Park Wood at the southern end, Marline Wood in the centre and Four Acre Wood to the north. All three woods are classified as ancient semi-natural woodlands.
Marline Wood is well-known for the diverse community of rare liverworts and mosses. These can be found growing alongside the gill stream and on sandstone outcrops within the wood. The humid gill woodlands support a unique community of rare ferns and lower plants as well as populations of broad-leaved and violet helleborines.
The woodlands support breeding willow tit, firecrest, nightingale, and hawfinch. Insects such as white admiral and purple hairstreak can also be seen.
In summer the meadows are carpeted in common spotted orchids, Dyer's greenweed and yellow rattle and many other wild flowers. Many different butterfly species can be seen including grizzled skippers and green hairstreaks.
Geologically the reserve stream cuts through layers of Wadhurst clay and Ashdown sands beds, with the sands forming the narrow and steep-sided gill.
These gills are a characteristic feature of the East Sussex High Weald. There are also numerous springs that occur at the junctions between the clays and sands, forming side streams and wet flushes in the woodland and the pasture, this combination of spring lines and exposed clays make much of the valley side vulnerable to erosion.
View a map of Marline Valley Local Nature Reserve.
The nature reserve is owned by Hastings Borough Council and managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust.
More information on the reserve can be found from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.