Message from our CEO

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2020.
We have a very exciting year planned with a rather special project at Golden Hill Country Park on the go, that will come to fruition in the Spring. 
Alongside this major focus in the West Wight, work will continue across all of our sites as we continue to enhance their natural appeal and explore potential improvements. 
The sites are so varied in what they offer, rich in wildlife, including some rare species, beautiful views, wonderful woodlands and important marshlands. They are a huge asset to the Island and we are privileged to be able to play such a significant role in ensuring their future. 
Thank you for being part of our journey. We hope we can continue to deserve your support and engagement but most of all we hope you can get to visit as many of the sites as possible this year. 
We always welcome your feedback so do get in touch if you have any questions or points of view you would like to share.
Hope to see you all at Golden Hill CP in May 

Graham Biss

The Rangers Blog – January 2020 


We hope all our readers had a good Christmas and have a Happy New Year. It was good to get out of the rain for a bit over Christmas, as in December it seemed to be raining all the time! Never the less it was a busy month as always and especially so with the holidays coming up. During the month we continued to clear an area of willow at Afton Marsh to protect the freshwater reed bed, continued scrub clearance at Shide Quarry with the help of our Wildlife Warriors and the Green Gym as well as all the regular maintenance jobs that come with looking after 29 sites. Work included repairing a bench at Golden Hill, restoring step rails at Batts Copse and repairing fencing at Brading Down and Pan Mill Meadows. In addition to the above, contractors have cleared encroaching vegetation around three ponds at Golden Hill, horticultural students from the Isle of Wight College completed winter pruning of the apple trees at Merstone Station and the Green Gym visited Munsley Bog to clear cut material, repair the boardwalk and install a couple of new steps. Meanwhile at Golden Hill we have been working on renewing the Geocache trail for later in the year, monitoring the cattle grazing at Nansen Hill and Brading Down and checking and removing deadwood over paths on various sites. 


During January and February we will be rushing to complete as much winter work as possible before bird nesting starts in March. Willow clearance will continue at Afton Marsh and we will be enhancing viewpoints at Golden Hill as well as continuing the orchard planting at the park entrance. We will also be assisted by the Green Gym at Pig Leg Lane to help with meadow management, path pruning and path surfacing. 

Thank you for all your support. 


Site of the Month
Shide Chalk Pit 

Isle of Wight Green Gym gave been doing amazing things on our sites for many years, so when they recommend a site, we know it’s a good thing! One of their winter favourites is Shide Chalk Pit, and this/ these photos were taken by them last month. So why is Shide so special in winter? Shide has its own micro-climate. In these photographs it was a winter wonderland frost pocket, but sometimes it can be warmer than the surrounding land. Our winter visitors include flocks of tits – long-tailed, great and blue. Jays can be seen and a green woodpecker regularly visits. Buzzards and sparrowhawks use it as a takeaway restaurant! Look out for the silver birches and dogwood, whilst mosses and liverworts can be found in the wetter parts.

Despite being so close to Newport it is also a very peaceful place where you can sit and listen to bird song. This was not always the case, in the past it was a busy working quarry and there is fabulous footage at


Shop News

We've had a very successful year at the Gift to Nature shop and we are very much looking forward to what 2020 holds. 
We have a small amount of Christmas stock that is on sale for the next week or so if you fancy grabbing a bargain for next year, but we will soon be making room for more garden and eco homeware.
It's the time of year when a lot of us have a big sort out and so the ideal time to help us by donating clothes and home items you no longer need to our pre-loved area. We can arrange to collect items if it is difficult for you to bring them in. Just call the shop on 01983 641972
We mostly rely on volunteers to run the shop and are always looking for extra help. In particular we would like to grow our plant sales this year, as we have a perfect little garden to use, but it takes many hands to make light work of this, so if you are green fingered or would just like to come and help out for a few hours a week, please get in touch and help us raise more funds for our local countryside..
If you are interested in what might be involved please email


Dates for your Diary

We will be leading a selction of walks as part of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival

Our team will be leading the following

3rd May - Golden Hill Country Park Dog Walk 
11th May - Golden Hill Country Park Nature Ramble
12th May The Golden Hill Geocache Explore 
17th May Golden Views accessible walk


17th May - Golden Hill Country Park Anniversary Day

A very special day with kite flying, picnics, storytellers and outdoor activities and the unveiling of a very special interactive installation. Keep an eye out for updates but save the date now as tis is not a day to miss!

If you shop at Amazon you can now help raise funds by choosing us as your charity through their Smile initiative.
Select Natural Enterprise in the charity search box and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to us. Its very simple and can make a big difference to the charity.  
Thank you for your continued interest in the Gift to Nature project. We are a charity and if you can help by making a small donation to our work it would be put to good use in the management of the 29 sites we look after for everyone to enjoy.
If you can help support us please visit our website for how to help

Gift to Nature is part of Natural Enterprise.
Registered charity number 1083233
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