Portsdown Hill is a ridge of chalk that lies to the north of Portsmouth Harbour on the South Coast of England. The north side of the hill is farmland, horse paddocks and public open space, while the south side is a mix of chalk grassland and scrub, much of it designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
This website describes the open spaces managed by the staff and volunteers of the Portsdown Hill Countryside Service.

Besides the SSSI, there are other areas on nature conservation interest on the hill, including SINCs (Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation). A variety of landowners and agencies own and manage the rest of the hill including the MoD, local authorities and utility companies. Within these ownerships, fragments of the once widespread chalk downland habitat remain.

Butterflies and their foodplants on Portsdown Hill

foodplants for caterpillars

Photo Photo

Getting data

Latest News

A Good Find
Luckily this flower was spotted in May 2018 before it was trodden on, eaten or mowed off. It's an early purple orchid, not seen on the hill for many years.


Fencing around Fort Widley
Work is underway to install a fence around the back of Fort Widley. This will allow goats to graze on the vegetation between the fence and the edge of the moat. It is expected that the animals will control the bushes sufficiently well to enable much better views of the fort than at present. Since the fort is a listed building, the work has been agreed with Historic England. The fencing is presently being done by volunteers under the leadership of the Countryside Officer.


Tesco Bags of Help
Details and pictures of the walkway funded by the Tesco grant are now on the Places page, along with a link to a map.


For matters and requests relating to management of the hill,
e-mail: Richard Jones (rjones@portsmouthcc.gov.uk)
telephone 023 9238 9623 or write to :
Richard Jones MIEEM, Portsdown Hill Countryside Officer,
Portsdown Hill Countryside Service, Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill Road,
Portsmouth, PO6 3LS

This website is maintained by Alan Thurbon for the Friends of Portsdown Hill. For comments or contributions, e-mail: FoPH (mail@portsdown.org.uk)