The clean-up has begun after thousands of revellers flocked to a countryside rave that has left “years of damage”.

Volunteers worked on the National Trust land at Devil’s Dyke yesterday morning to help clear the site which hosted an illegal rave over the bank holiday weekend.

More than 2,000 ravers attended leaving rubbish, including smashed bottles, beer cases, clothing and gas canisters strewn across the site after they partied for more than 24 hours.Volunteers helped to clear about 250 bags of waste from the site, which was taken away by Mid Sussex District Council.

Charlie Cain, head ranger of the Devil’s Dyke estate, said: “We have had about a hundred people helping us and we would like to offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who came.”

He said the beauty spot will take five to ten years to recover and warned of untold damage may have been done to the habitat.

Mr Cain added: “The grass will be green in a couple weeks but that doesn’t mean it will be as ecologically interested as it once was.”

He said in some places on the chalk grasslands there are fifty species of plants per square metre and that biologist David Bellamy called them Britain’s tropical rainforest due to the concentration of animal species.

Mr Cain said: “There is broken glass all over the downs that is going to causing problems for years.”