Brighton and Hove is south of the chalk hills of the South Downs. The most common crops grown on the Downs are wheat, barley and oilseed rape. This is because they all grow well in light, chalky soil. Cows and sheep are the animals you’re most likely to find grazing on the Downs.The chalk ridge of hills is all that remains of a huge ‘crown’ of a hill that went all the way up to the North Downs near London.
The farmland around Brighton is not a ‘natural’ landscape’. What we see now has been shaped by people over thousands of years. Sheep grazing, hedging and ploughing have made the land look like it does today.
Brighton & Hove City Council owns about 6,000 hectares (14,000 acres) of countryside around the city - most of the land from Saltdean to Ditchling Beacon and around Hove towards Southwick. Most of this land is in the South Downs National Park, amounting to over 40% of the City of Brighton & Hove.