New Developments & Bank Holiday Fun

Our team of rangers have been working around the clock to ensure our sites are well-prepared for our upcoming events and they have certainly delivered with the new boardwalk at Sandown Comunity Orchard. We will be officially opening the boardwalk at 11am on Monday 7th May and we would love to see you there. To fully embrace the picnic season, our shop is now selling a selection of local, Wight Marque approved,  produce, including jams, soft drinks and rapeseeds oil. We have also been catching up with the Dodnor Rediscovered volunteers- read on to see how they're getting on.  

The Ranger's Diary

Another busy month, as the climate gets warmer everything grows quicker, so we’ve had lots of grass cutting, litter-picking and general tidying to do on top of our usual tasks.
We completed a new boardwalk at Sandown Community Orchard. This work was funded by a grant from The Big Lottery Fund. Myself, Ed and a volunteer, built the structure over several weeks to avoid floods and the worst of the winter weather.

A difficult task as the boardwalk had to be built through the middle of a pond. The posts could not be dug because the work area was under water so we developed a system for driving the posts in. Now we just need to link the path to the pond, once complete, pedestrians will be able to walk onto the Community Orchard from the Cowes – Sandown shared cycling/walking route. For many years this route has been very difficult without wellies, you can now leave your wellies at home. The boardwalk will be finished in time for the Mad Hatter's Tea party next Monday (7th May).

Click here to read the full Ranger's Diary 

The Gift to Nature Calendar Competition 

Are you a novice nature photographer? Or do you just love taking photos of this gorgeous Island? We’re producing a Gift to Nature 2019 calendar and your photos could be part of it. Simply take a photo of 1 of our 29 sites (views included). You can then share on social media using #G2Ncalendar or email your photos to before 31/07/2018.

For your photo to be used your image(s) needs to be a minimum of 300 dpi resolution. Whilst you still own the rights to your photo, by entering, you are allowing us to use your images in the calendar and in any other marketing material we feel necessary, including print, social and digital marketing.

If you win, not only will your photo be in our official 2019 calendar, you’ll also get a £10.00 voucher to use in our shop or against any of our events. Good luck & happy snapping. 

Get Involved

May's Site of the Month - One Horse Field 

One Horse Field is a beautiful wildflower meadow that we have been managing since 2005 to encourage a greater diversity of meadow flowers and grassland wildlife. We have installed hand-carved seating so you can let the wildlife come to you. The grassland was part of a larger farm which has a grazing history back to the eighteenth century.

Look out for the spectacular Wasp Spider between July and October in the long grass where they spin their intricate webs (we keep the paths mown so you can avoid the insects if you prefer!). Later in the summer look for the delicate spiral of white flowers which is the Autumn Ladies Tresses orchid. In the summer the meadow is alive with darting dragonflies and butterflies.
We have installed hand-carved seating so you can rest your weary feet for a moment and let the wildlife come to you. The meadow is around two hectares and includes semi-improved and herb-rich grassland with mature hedgerows and scrub. Part of the site is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and is adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Welcoming Wight Marque Produce

We are delighted to be stocking some local produce in the shop. Wight Marque is a scheme provided by the Isle of Wight and the Agricultural Society that clearly identifies genuinely local produce so that customers can be assured where their produce was both made and grown. The shop is now stocking:
  • Oil of Wight With Rapeseed oil
  • The Fruit Bowl Jam
  • Wight Crystal flavoured waters

We are set to increase our selection of produce over the coming months. With the addition of Wild Island fruit vinegar and salad dressings and the Tomato Stall products coming very soon. We will also be applying for our own Wight Marque Gold Status this month so watch this space. 

We have also introduced our own range of gorgeous, natural plant wax, scented candles which would make an ideal summer birthday gift.

Update Donor Rediscovered HLF project Archaeological Excavations

Volunteers have now completed 3 weeks of excavations on the old cement chamber kilns which Charles Francis and Sons used to make cement from the 1840s onwards on the banks of the River Medina, including the unique "Medina Cement" which won prizes at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Having learned archaeological skills in training sessions over the winter, the volunteers have already identified a previously unknown 4th Victorian "bottle kilns" on the site and discovered how the drying floor of one of the two chamber kilns operated. Excavations continue into the summer and we hope to reveal more of how these amazing structures helped Charles Francis and Sons become one of the leading cement manufacturers in the country.

What's Coming Up? 

Gift to Nature, will be holding a very special event this Spring, on the 26th of May, at the iconic Golden Hill Country Park in Freshwater. Just a stone's throw from the site of the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight festival.

The Butterfly Ball will be an outdoor music event with a difference, join our Headline act Tensheds and a host of supporting artists in this beautiful, countryside setting. Children, and big kids alike, will be able to spot the butterfly amongst the trees. Or simply boogie on down, and listen to the tones of Tensheds and friends as the sun sets over these iconic views.

Licensed Bar and hot food available throughout the event, accompanied children welcome. 

Register for your tickets here

Join us at our Big Kite Picnic fundraising event on Sunday May 27th at Golden Hill Fort Country Park. The whole family is invited to this quintessentially British event. Children and big kids alike can create a kite with Shademakers in a kite-making workshop or why not bring your own and join in the fun. Storytelling, face painting and refreshments also available.

This is our annual fundraiser and your chance to help us raise the funds to keep Golden Hill Fort County Park looking beautiful. So why not invite all your friends and family and make a day of it! Remember to bring change for Kite materials if you'd like to make one. 

Surrounding a former Victorian fort (now private homes) Golden Hill Fort Country Park has some stunning views of the West Wight and the Solent. A network of paths offers a range of walks through the grassland and woodland which also provide some great spaces for wild-play.

Register for free tickets
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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