Hastings is blessed with a variety of natural and semi-natural habitats including quite scarce and specialised habitats. Amongst the most important being the ancient gill woodland that occurs in the steep sided ravines cut out of the underlying sandstone.
The cliff and undercliff of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve is of European importance hence its desgination as a Special Area of Conservation. The maritime heathland present in Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve although small in size is an internationally rare habitat and every little bit is important. The reed bed at Filsham is amongst the largest in Sussex and supports wetland wildlife communities not seen anywhere else in Hastings. The intertidal and shallow water habitats cannot be forgotten as they provide the most spectacular wildlife seen from Hastings, including dolphins, seals and wildfowl and seabird migrations.
The amount of semi-natural grassland in Hastings has increased greatly within the last few years due to the reversion of cliff-top arable and intensive dairy pasture to conservation grazed grassland within Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve. This legume rich grassland supports large numbers of bumblebees as well as attracting long-horned bees and other scarce solitary bees. To the west of the Borough much more mature semi-natural grassland occurs within Marline Valley Nature Reserve which has also seen an improvement in management with the re-introduction of conservation grazing. The grassland within Marline Valley is of a very different nature including species associated with mature undisturbed grassland such as adder’s-tongue fern.
And of course as Hastings is an urban area the private and public parks and gardens are of great importance as together they provide a large area for wildlife to flourish, some species of which are quite rare and scarce. Even the buildings and rooftops play an important role in supporting specialised species such as black redstarts, swifts and rare ferns, bryophytes & lichens.