Bee approaching columbine

Back to Work 

Signs that life can include a little more ‘normality’ have been very welcome and the rangers have been busy catching up on those Spring tasks that are so important to the cycle of our countryside sites.
Our sites have been open throughout the ‘lockdown’ and have provided an ideal place to enjoy daily exercise and dog walking, without the crowds often associated with some countryside attractions.
Sadly for some, the easing of restrictions seems to have been associated with the easing of standards and we have noticed an increase in litter and anti-social behaviour, but we have been able to deal with it swiftly and hopefully we will see less in the coming months, as more options are open for leisure activities.
Thanks to all of you who have helped us watch over the sites. We continue to need your eyes and ears and value all feedback.  
Please email if you have any thing to report.
If urgent please call 01983 296244

Golden Hill Country Park

Although our planned event and maze installation has had to be postponed until early next year, other planned improvements to Golden Hill Country Park are well under way and we have been receiving positive feedback on the new nature and heritage signs.
Nature is beginning to claim back a lot of the archaeological excavations, so if you would like to see any you might need to visit very soon.
We have updated our website to share what we have discovered about the site so please do have a look 
Golden Hill Country Park

The Rangers Blog July 2020


Hello and welcome to this month’s addition of the Rangers Blog. In early May, it was decided that if myself and Nick felt comfortable doing so, we would be able to return to work, and it has been great to be back! We are following the Government safety guidelines and ensuring that all members of the team are safe and are working within the current legislation. It is now our eighth week back and we have successfully created a safe and efficient working routine which has allowed us to manage the sites and ensure that they are safe and open to the public. 

Myself and Nick have been working nonstop maintaining and managing the sites and ensuring that they are safe for the public. We have managed to visit all of the Gift to Nature sites & carry out various works to them. As we were unable to work on any of the sites for 6 weeks whilst on lockdown, there was concern that they had become overgrown and we would have to battle through the summer in order to return the sites to a manageable state. However, due to the hot and dry weather conditions the grassy areas have not grown as vigorously as we believed they would, allowing us to cut the grass, open the pathways and ensure visitors have access to the sites. Our strimmer’s and mowers have been running nonstop across all of the sites and I am glad to say that they are looking fantastic. Whilst out on the sites I have had many visitors approach me and explain how important the sites are to them and how they have been visiting them as part of their daily exercise routine during these trying times. It is encouraging to hear members of the public have such passion and enjoyment for their local sites, giving them the chance to have a closer connection to nature locally to them. We hope that you are able to visit our many sites and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty which they possess. 

On one of our woodland trails at Sibden Hill there was a section of path which had become very narrow with the edge of the path eroding away down a steep slope. The section was potentially hazardous and we decided that we needed to widen the path and erect rails which would help prevent walkers slipping over the edge. I was tasked with cutting into the bank and widening the pathway whilst putting in the rails which ran across the eroding edge of the path. I was pleased to be working in the shade as it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year and I think I would have wilted if I was in direct sun light. The job was successful and I had plenty of regular visitors to the site walk past and provide me with positive feedback which always makes the job worthwhile. My job allows me to have great variety of work whilst also being out and about and meeting people who love our sites as much as we do and are positive to the work we carry out, making our work all the more satisfying knowing that our work and team are appreciated. 

Work on the Golden Hill Country Park Project has restarted following the lock-down. Recently we have installed a new welcome sign and bicycle racks in the car park (the signs are due to be attached in the next couple of weeks). Alongside this work we have also instructed a contractor to restore the main bridleway surface on the left hand entrance to the park up to and just beyond the first gate. This is now complete and should hopefully solve the problems with large puddles and mud in front of the gate in the winter.


We will  not really know until we get some decent rain but it should only need some minor adjustments if any. In the last couple of weeks another contractor has been installing new information boards, way markers and information posts around the park following our new Wildlife, Red Squirrel and Veiwpoint walks. This is very nearly complete and just requires a directional fingerpost to complete. Already we have had many positive comments from the passing public using the site. 

Thank you to everyone who is following and supporting us and we all hope that you are well and keeping safe in these difficult times. We hope that our sites are a welcome distraction from everything that is happening at present and would love for you to visit your local Gift to Nature Site if you are able to do so safely and without endangering yourself and others. If you have any information, pictures or queries about our sites please feel free to get in touch with us as we would love to hear from you. 

Stay safe and until next time. 


Site of the Month
Birchmore pond


This is the perfect time to spot dragonflies and damselflies on many of our sites, but for July we are going to suggest you get on your bike and pop to Birchmore Pond just south of Blackwater on the Newport to Sandown cycletrack.

Birchmore is in the shadow of St George’s Down which is apt as a myth tells how the devil cast a spell on St George's beautiful white horse; turning it into a giant, flying insect.  In Romania a folk name for dragonfly is Calul St Georgem, and in Germany Gorgen pferdlein (both St Georges Horse).

Dragonflies and damselflies are delicate and elegant. Scientists have classified them into one Order; the Odonata which is derived from the Greek word for teeth.  This is appropriate because dragonflies are fierce hunters with strong mandibles that they use to crush their prey.

Birchmore is home to dragonflies and damselflies, so how to tell the difference? Its quite easy with these four steps:

1.      Watch them resting. If the wings are open like an aeroplane they are a dragonfly, if they are closed they are not!

2.      Look them in the eyes. Dragonflies are large and close.

3.      Damselflies are skinny-minnies

4.      Damselflies have wings that are both the same size and shape, which taper where they attach to the body. Dragonflies have different shaped fore and hind wings. Their hind wings are much broader and don’t taper so much where they attach to the body, giving them more of a plane look.

5.      Follow the flight pattern - Dragonflies are usually larger fast flying insects that dart and skim over the water surface, Damsel and Demoiselle flies are often very small and have a weak fluttery flight.


Broad Bodied chaser

The Gift to Nature Shop 

Shop News

We are very pleased to finally be open. Do come and say hello, our new shop and garden manager, Shara, has begun to implement her horticultural vision and the place is already transformed  with the teams hard work.
We have some very special perennials in stock ( for now ) including;
Rudbeckia -green wizard 
Verbena - hastata white spires
Coreopsis - autumn blush
plus new London Ornaments stoneware stock ( although again this is selling fast!) 

We have new safety guidelines in place and so far they are working well.

We are a little short on volunteers at the moment, so we can only open Monday morning, all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Please follow us on our facebook page to keep up all the exciting developments.

We still have stock online, if you prefer to shop from home. You can also click and collect if you wish to minimse your time in public spaces

Find us at 12 Holyrood Street Newport - Just opposite Hursts.
Open 10am - 4.30pm 

Nicholson Road Project

There is to be a new communal green space area in Ryde. Close to Pig Leg Lane, the area is nestled between the Oakfield, Swanmore and Elmfield historic settlements and will be a fantastic asset for the community. This land is part of the Isle of Wight Council’s Nicholson Road development, but Mayor Michael Lilley has worked hard to secure the early release of this land for community use. The Isle of Wight Council has asked us to add the space to our portfolio of managed sites. It is very early days, but to immediately make this area available for people to enjoy we have cleared a path all the way around the site and opened up an area for recreational use. The site is rich in flora and fauna, so we are keen to get the balance right between preserving the natural features but also allowing people to enjoy it.

What’s in a name?

Who better to name a new site than the community that use it, so we are asking for your input. Please email name suggestions to we will put a selection to a public vote in a few weeks. We would also like the local community to shape and help us with the future enhancements to the site. If you would like to be involved and have any ideas and suggestions please send them to

Dates for your Diary

All planned events have been postponed until further notice 

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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