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Longer Days, Early Daffs, it's Almost Spring 

A warm welcome to our February Newsletter

Contrary to the above title, we are aware that there are still nearly 6 weeks until Spring but we just can't help ourselves get excited when those little yellow-headed daffodils pop up or of course when we can leave work to a glimpse of daylight. 

As ever the last few weeks have given us a mixed bag weather wise, we've had sunny spells, rain and of course those snowy days. Our much-loved climate on the Island has sure been delivering some diverse weather of late.

Shout out to our rangers and volunteers who continue to be out there no matter the weather maintaining our sites and preparing them on the busy build up to Spring. 

We're really excited to announce we're working on our very own countryside code which is aimed to help both locals and holiday goers alike look after our wonderful Island. Keep your eyes peeled as we will be releasing the code over the next few weeks. 
Ranger's diary

The Gift To Nature Ranger’s Blog 

It’s been another busy and eventful month for us as we have been all over the Island maintaining, managing and improving our sites. We have been to East Cowes to visit Castle Copse and to make amendments to the entrances. We have added a mix of hazel, hawthorn and guelder rose to the hedge at the entrance off Sylvan Avenue to fill in the gaps and add more variety and volume to the existing hedge. Towards the bottom end of the site we managed to clear the brambles & weeds which had encroached around the sculptures and onto the paths. Clearing the bramble was not only aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial for plants & flowers which were being smothered and unable to flourish. We will hopefully be able to see the benefit of this in the spring. 

We have been preparing Merston station to ensure that the fruit trees are growing healthily and that the younger trees have the support they need for growth. We have been staking a few of the younger trees to add support for them and to ensure that they grow straighter. Staking newly planted trees is necessary to prevent wind rock and movement of the roots. As newly planted trees have not been able to establish a strong root base the stake will reinforce the tree until it is strong enough to grow unaided.

Exciting work has been carried out at Birchmore Pond with the assistance of the Green Gym assistance. Encroaching vegetation has been cleared back for a brand new look and experience when visiting. We have cleared large areas of bramble & willow stems to open up views of the pond, provide better water flow by clearing the ditch and create a new path which allows visitors to access the far end of the pond area. 

It is now perfect for observing the wildlife whilst having a quiet sit down by a beautiful pond. Be sure to check it out.  

As always thanks for following & supporting Gift to Nature, it is much appreciated and a big thank you to all of our hard workers and volunteers. 

On Brading Down we have hired a contractor with a tractor mounted flail to open up paths and clear some spreading bramble patches. It is very labour intensive to keep large areas of gorse, brambles and scrub under control by hand. The work carried out has made a big difference to the paths and downland and will make our maintenance work in the summer easier with our small tractor.

Site of the Month - Dodnor Rediscovered

Dodnor Rediscovered 

We're celebrating the completion of our Dodnor ReDiscovered project, which has seen the uncovering and recoding of historic cement kilns and the revamping on the Dickson’s Copse and Dodnor Creek Local Nature Reserve.

Thank you for our funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and thank you to the fantastic help from over 90 volunteers who worked on the project with us. 

Unfortunately, the causeway at Dodnor has partially collapsed which has meant footpath N30 has been closed. During the closure, the alternative route will be via the Cowes to Newport cycle track. We will keep you updated via social media, apologies for any inconvenience. 

 

What's in Store?

James Bradley 

We're delighted to be now stocking James Bradley's gorgeous (and local) woodwork. We're stocking his amazing hand-carved garden and indoor ornaments (including little mushrooms from just £3.00). 

We also have one of his amazing Owl Houses which you could pop into your garden to help Owls nest. Here is how James describes them:

'Barn owls begin looking for nesting sites soon. I'll have another batch of nesting boxes available soon. Made from Fsc approved 12mn exterior ply, with multiple coats of waterproofing. Approx 60cm high, 50cm wide, 40cm deep. All you need is a tree over 3 metres high to place one in, where owls can spot the entrance. Then you get a chance to see these beautiful creatures in action!

Click here to watch how much the owls adore their little homes:
Be Part of Team
 
Our shop is a unique boutique that offers customers both new and preloved items. We primarily sell home and garden items but always have a selection of other items that have been donated. The team is small and friendly and offer a relaxed and fun working environment. We're on the lookout for volunteers and are in need of someone this coming Monday, if you're available then or beyond, please email: vanessa.langley@gifttonature.org.uk. 
We've still got some of our 2019 calendars in stock, so if you are yet to grab one this year, these could be just right for you.  You can get your calendar both in our shop, and online here. These gorgeous swanlings come from the very talented Alan Rowe and features in the calendar. 
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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