October  News

As autumn closes in, we all can sense it's time to start planning for the slower darker months ahead.
The perfect time of year for foraging wild foods and although most of our community apples have been gathered, our sites still offer lots of  blackberries, rosehips and sloes for making jams, cordials and fruit steeped alcohol, perfect or the festive period to come.
Please remember to leave some for the wildlife though ! 

 The Brading Faerie Festival and Wood Fair 
We all had a really specal day at this year's event and it was wonderful to share the day with  so many people, young and old alike. The weather was exceptionally kind to us and we raised over £1000 for our efforts, which is a wonderful reward for all the work, especially from our incredible volunteers, without which the event just couldn't have happened.

The whole event was created' in house' from our rangers ensuring the space was 'event ready' to  even the office team helping with signage, wigwams and event decor,  We had a brilliant day, so thank you to all that came to help us raise funds and find out more about our work.

Thank you also to The Lilliput Dolls Museum for sponsoring the poster and flyer print and Asda and Tesco for supplying refreshments and paper cups and plates. 

There is still chance to benefit from some of the days magic, as we can now auction the wonderful unicorn carving created by local woodcarving hero, Paul Sivell.
See below for details 



If you go down in the woods today…

At this time of year Parkhurst Forest is an ideal place to spot magic mushrooms. Fly agaric are mythically the home to fairies and woodland spites and are stunning to look at, but beware, they are also highly toxic. Native to this country they are particularly found near birch trees, with which they have a symbiotic relationship, transferring nutrients into their roots. They are particularly loved by reindeer, but we have yet to spot one of these from our Parkhurst Hide!


Autumn is also a great time to spot red squirrels in Parkhurst. Naive youngsters are on the move and adults and juveniles may be too busy caching food to notice you. They do not hibernate but are less active. The trick, as always, is to look up. The seats at our hide are designed for you to do this, and once the leaves start to drop, its so much easier to see them skitting around. We find that the best time to spot them is on bright sunny days, early in the morning.

Did you know we feed the squirrels at Parkhurst Hide to encourage them to the area for easier viewing. If you can hlep us by donating to the Nuts to Squirrels campaign please click the link here to donate 


Parkhurst Hide

The Ranger's Blog

October 2019 

September has been a very busy month with the addition of the Faerie Festival and Wood Fair on the 15 September at Bulleys Pit, Brading. This was a very successful event with beautiful weather on the day and in the lead up which makes such a difference. Much of the event was set up by the Saturday afternoon and I was camping out on the site overnight to ensure everything was safe. It was a quiet night with a fantastic display in the heavens including a shooting star and bright moonlight. 

During September our autumn grass cutting starts with our contractor, Martin Eason. To date Martin has cut the meadows at Sibden Hill, Riverside Park and Pan Country Park. In the next few days and weeks he will be working at Millennium Wood in Newport and Golden Hill Country Park, Freshwater. At the same time we have started work on cutting and collecting some of our smaller wildflower areas. During September we have had visits from our own Wildlife Warriors and Green Gym volunteer groups at Merstone Station. Prior to each visit we have cut the station platform and the wildflower rich area behind with an Allen scythe pedestrian tractor. Although hard and slow work the benefit of this machine is that the year’s growth is cut at base leaving all the material intact and not fragmented, allowing collection with rakes and forks. This is gathered up and composted on-site. This prevents the material rotting down and having a mulching effect on any fresh germinating plants thereby benefiting the more delicate and less vigorous wildflowers and grasses. Because of the excellent work of the volunteers we can look forward to another fantastic flowering display next year running through spring into summer. 

Other activity has included a further visit to Golden Hill Country Park with volunteers from Sainsbury’s Newport to continue work on the orchard area. The Green Gym visited Dickson’s Copse to start an area of willow clearance and coppicing, opening up parts of the wetland to benefit wetland plants. 

Over the last couple of months the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Amphibian and Reptile Group has been undertaking survey of reptiles at Golden Hill Country Park and One Horse Field, Totland. So far there are no records for One Horse but at Golden Hill there has been one slow worm and a juvenile common lizard which is perhaps what you would expect but nice to have confirmed. 

Looking into October there will be further meadow cutting and collecting at Sandown Community Orchard and Pan Mill Meadows, Newport and fruit tree planting starting at the new community orchard area in Golden Hill. 



Scythe poised for action at Merstone
Green Gym take a quick break

Heart of the Hill  


Golden Hill Country Park update

The archeological  volunteers have begun investigating the heritage of Golden Hill Country Park and we can’t wait to share their findings. During the winter months we will be sympathetically undertaking various pieces of work at this wonderful site to include a fabulous installation by the incredible willow sculptor Eddie Glew of Blythfield Willow. We have asked him to create something that will echo the original fort structure using local organic materials like willow and hazel. The idea being to bring a focal point back to the site for everyone to enjoy.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the project. 

Eddie Glews Maze installation at Wa

Wood Carvings Auction


Local wood sculptor, Paul Sivell, has donated a very special piece of work to  be auctioned as part of our fundraising efforts.  Carved specially to grace the woodland setting of the Brading Faerie Festival and Wood Fair, earlier in September. Paul always had it in mind to give the work to the charity to support our work. 

Many of our sites feature Paul’s carvings, his work is now iconic on the Island and we could not be more delighted with this gift to support the countryside spaces we manage.

Such a unique sculpture is a very special thing to own and we are sure it will generate a lot of interest.

In keeping with the magical woodland theme, the piece is a unicorn head and stands approximately 75cm high and will create a very striking focal point in any garden setting. 

Alongside the unicorn, two owl sculptures, created at this year’s County Show, will also be available and monies raised for the owls will benefit the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society.

If you would like to make an offer on any of the pieces please contact us via email. The winning bids will be announced on Saturday 19thOctober. 

All 3 works can be viewed at the Gift to Nature shop, 12 Holyrood Street Newport, open Tuesday – Saturday.  Or call us on 01093 296244 for more details.


Shop News  

It’s really encouraging to see how many of our regular customers are carrying their own reusable shopping bags now. So many people are looking for easy ways to ditch the plastic, and there are great alternatives to plastic carrier bags. If you are looking to convert, we have a wide selection of cotton and canvas tote bags, including some beautiful printed ones from Nervous Wreck Designs. These make ideal Christmas presents too, and most of our range can be rolled up easily for posting or hiding in the bottom of a stocking. On that note, we know the shops are already full of Christmas, and many of you will already be thinking about present shopping. We will be putting out our Christmas stock from the beginning of October.

You can find our shop at 12 Holyrood Street Newport – just opposite Hursts.

We are always looking for volunteers to join us in us in our lovely friendly shop so If you have a few hours to spare why not  pop in and have a chat. 

And Finally.....

If you can't come along and support us at our special fundraising event, please consider lending your support in other ways. 
Even just by doing your everyday shopping online you could help us raise funds by signing up to Easyfundraising
You could also become an official Gift to Nature supporter and receive a host of benefits, including our lovely Map Pack of our main sites.
Why not donate your preloved items to our Holyrood Street shop or make a plan to do some of your Christmas shopping there? There really is something for everyone.
For more information, head over to our website
More Gift to Nature news for you next month, so why not forward this one to a friend? New subscribers always make us happy!

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Gift to Nature · Shide Meadows Centre · Shide Road · NEWPORT, Isle Of Wight PO30 1HR · United Kingdom

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