April Newsletter

Welcome to our April newsletter. As Easter approaches we're preparing for the welcomes change in climate. Of course our rangers are out cutting the grass and preparing the sites and our shop team have been busy preparing for a very exciting shopping event.

We've got some very 'tasty' news for anyone who is an ice cream lover and we will be discussing some fun activities that will keep you busy over the Easter holidays and beyond!


Sandown Community Orchard 

This site is at its best in Spring, so it’s well worth a visit this month.

The orchard is teaming with primroses, and the variety of fruit trees mean that there is a succession of blossom on the trees. Look up and you may spot our squirrel, a tree creeper, or the gang of long-tailed tits that regularly pop in for a snack. And talking of food, why not bring a picnic along and eat in on our benches in the orchard, or by our pond.

We have built a boardwalk so it’s easy to traverse the site from the orchard and pond to the cycletrack, and at this time of year the wetland flora is appearing, and it’s gorgeous. In fact the whole site is teaming with life at this time of year – in May 2017 I-Watch held a mini-bioblitz and found 137 species! 

If heritage is your thing, have a look at the on-site interpretation and find out about the railway, waterworks and Sandy Thomas. You can read all about it here 

Ranger's Blog

April is an exciting month with spring arriving. The lighter mornings and evenings become more noticeable, there is the hope of warmer days, spring flowers make their presence known and birds are building nests. 

For the Rangers, the winter work tails off and grass cutting begins. In the last couple of weeks we have started mowing at our Haylands Wood site, Pan Country Park, Blackgang Viewpoint and Pan Mill Meadows amongst others. At some sites the grass has hardly started growing where the soil is colder but in parts of Pan Mill Meadows it is racing up. 

This month we managed to squeeze in two events with our wonderful Wildlife Warriors. At the beginning of March we visited Pan Country Park to cut path side willow and clear around planted trees then towards the middle of March we visited Pig Leg Lane, Ryde. Here we had pre-cut an area of flower rich meadow and the Warriors got stuck into raking up the cuttings and clearing invading blackthorn scrub. In May and June this area should have a fantastic display of oxeye daisy and common spotted orchids among other flowering plants. 

At the end of the month we completed a coastal planting bed at Castlehaven Village Green, Niton. This is a lovely little spot at the end of Castlehaven Lane and worth the walk down. Here you can perch on the bench and gaze out across the English Channel but be prepared for rough seas in high winds.

The planter is constructed from landscaping timbers and planted with what should be salt tolerant hardy plants, then topped with crushed pebbles. Time will tell if the plants survive as it is a harsh environment down there but today it was glorious with a strong salty scent on the warm breeze. 

I hope all our readers and supporters will be able to take advantage of the very pleasant weather we are having at the moment and get out and visit one, two or several of our sites as they will be looking their very best over the next two or three months. 


Supporters’ Easter Shopping Event 

Treat yourself this Easter to something lovely from the Gift to Nature shop 

We have a new range of gorgeous hair and body products that are kind to us and also the environment . Try our gentle facial cleansing bars with moisturising Shea Butter or our Living Naturally soap and shampoo bars made from soapnuts!. – all vegan and palm oil free, they would make wonderful gifts for friends or to yourself. 

We now also stock Isle Bee Eco wraps – a great way to wrap food and helping to elimate the need for the ubiquitous cling film – also very pretty to have in your fridge! 

We have a great range of garden ornaments, beautifully hand cast in the Up so if you are looking for a new feature for the garden or patio do check us out. 

Gift to Nature Supporters can receive a 10% discount on all shop stock * from April 15th – April 20th. 

If you haven’t signed up to be part of the scheme yet there is still time to do so and receive your discount but equally important is your commitment to help us keep improving and managing the 28 sites for all to enjoy is so valued. 

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

*Some artisan products excluded from offer.

And if you would like to find out how to become a supporter of the charity do ask in the shop or click here.

Feeling Active?

The West Wight 3 Hills is a multi-terrain running event first run in 1981, this year’s event is held on Easter Monday 20 April 2019. The race starts at 12 noon at West Wight Sports Centre (runner registration open from 10am). The course is an undulating/hilly very scenic single lap of 8 miles with approximately 900 feet of ascent in the scenic West Wight. After the start at the sports centre the runners take on a climb to Golden Hill Fort before heading back down to Freshwater and then to Totland. From there they ascend Headon Warren drop down to Alum Bay before the final ascent of Highdown and onto the Monument on Tennyson Down. It's then a long descent to Freshwater Bay and back to the finish at Freshwater. 

The race attracts both Island runners and quite a few mainlanders with WightLink providing travel sponsorship - we expect approx 150-170 runners on the day, runners can pre-enter on our web-site or enter on the day (subject to space). 

Facebook event
Race Website Page

Huge thanks to West Wight Cottages for supporting us through our Business Supporter scheme. 

West Wight Cottages have 9 adorable self-catering holiday lets, including family friendly, wheelchair accessible and dog friendly properties 

They have been supporting Gift to Nature privately for many years as the Island's open countryside is hugely important to them. They were one of the first companies to join our new Business Supporters scheme and we are delighted to have them on board, as their core values very much align with our own.

Do take a look at their
website and if you have any family or friends looking for accommodation this year, they are definitely worth considering.

Walking the Dog 

Do you walk your dog on one of our sites? 

Wight Link are running a Dog friendly awards campaign and one of the categories is best place to walk your dog 

Please vote for us here if you think our rangers deserve some acknowledgment for all the hard work they do keeping the sites looking wonderful and accessible 

New Concession for Merstone Station 

We are all very excited that we now have refreshment concession at Merstone Station. 

It’s such a lovely site and very popular with walkers and cyclists. Pease say Hi to Stephen when you next visit and enjoy the Ice cream!

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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