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Welcome to 2021


Although the opening months of 2021 are perhaps not what we all hoped for, we can be reassured that there is light at the end of this long tunnel and the signs of Spring are around us even in these chilly winter days.
Leaf buds are swelling and robins, song thrushes and mistle thrushes are already singing. Lesser celandine could be found anytime now and there still  some fungi treasure to find, like velvet shank and wood ear.

All our sites remain open and are the perfect place to take your daily constitutional or home schooling forays and with so many sites to explore why not try to visit a new one each week!

If you would like a handy guide to some of the sites why not  purchase a Gift to Nature Trail pack from our website here.
The perfect way to explore 11 of our sites, these beautifully illustrated trail guides will suggest interesting routes and contain information about the landscape and heritage, as well as some fun family activities. Ideal for keeping the younger ones outdoors and motivated.

These packs also come free as part of out Gift to Nature Supporter plan, so please consider getting more involved with our work by supporting us with a small monthly amount. 



We love to see what you find so please share your thoughts and comments with us on social media or by email. 

You might also like to try Geocaching - scroll down for more info on this brilliant way to enjoy stomping about the countryside !


Our rangers continue to work on all essential maintenance on the sites but 
as usual, if you notice anything that might need our attention please call us on 01983 296244 or email info@gifttonature.org.uk 

Ranger Blog - December/ January 2021
 

Hello and welcome to the latest addition of the Gift to Nature Ranger Blog. As I write this it is the start of a new year and I am hopeful that this will be a brighter and more positive year for everyone.

In last month’s addition, we explained how the G2N team had been working on Brading Down in preparation for the return of the cattle. I am pleased to say that the cattle are now on - site grazing and having a positive effect on the grassland. It is important to have the cattle graze the area to control the varied and rich wildlife habitat which benefits the natural environment & promotes wildflower growth whilst also reducing tree growth, scrub, and rank grass. The cattle are calm and happily grazing and will mostly keep to themselves. We ask that all visitors to the site make sure that all gates are securely shut once they are used to prevent the cattle from escaping the fenced area. We would also ask that all dog walkers keep their dogs on leads and under control when walking in the fields. Following these guidelines allows the site to be used by everyone and allows the cattle to graze peacefully without being disturbed.
If you notice any issues or concerns with the cattle or Brading Down, please contact Gift to Nature. 

   

Elsewhere on the Island we have been regularly monitoring all our sites to ensure that they are safe and open for the public to enjoy. We have managed to install additional seating at Medina Riverside Park and Pan Country Park for people to enjoy. The seats have been created by using logs from trees which have been felled on site. Being able to make use of the timber is a fantastic way of recycling the wood and ensuring that the tree can still be enjoyed even though it has had to be felled. The log seat at Medina Riverside Park is situated along the path which runs along the river and has a beautiful open spot which overlooks the Medina River. From here you can peacefully watch wildlife including Little Egrets, Herons, Oyster Catchers, Swans and much more. At Pan Country Park we have cleared around the pond by coppicing willow stems and strimming the grass to create an open seating area for people to enjoy. The area was previously fenced off for housing development and we are really pleased to gain access once again to create a place for people to visit and enjoy. Be sure to check out these areas and share with us what you think of the new seats and tell us what you find. 



At Golden Hill Country Park Gift to Nature has taken control of the existing Geocache trail and added our own personal touches. The original trail was created by Redmoby who had created a fantastic and varied trail which allows people to take part in fun challenges of finding the caches whilst being able to explore the country park, finding areas which they may not have previously discovered. Redmoby has very kindly given Gift to Nature control of the trail and we have been able to update and repair many of the caches on site. It is a fun and interesting way of exploring Golden Hill whilst having the thrill of trying to find the hidden caches.  See Below for more detail.

For those who are continuing to use our sites, we hope that you are keeping safe, maintaining your distance from other walkers and please follow the recommended guidelines.

We hope you have enjoyed the latest addition of the Ranger Blog.
Until next time folks. 
Ed
 

Medina Riverside Park -

Try Geocaching !


As already mentioned we have adopted some geocaches on Golden Hill Country Park, which mean we maintain them and can be notified when anyone discovers them. They are very popular !

What a great way to get out in the countryside and do a little bit of exploring with a purpose. 

If you're new to geocaching it couldn't be simpler to get involved. 
The basic premise is you hunt for the caches, which can be anything, but most often a small container with a low value item inside for you too keep, but you need to replace it with something small of your own for the next treasure hunter ! 
Head over to Geocaching.com, where you can sign up. You basically then just download an app on a mobile phone and head to which of the areas you want to hunt. 
We only maintain the ones on Golden Hill at present but there are hundreds across the Island, including on some of our other sites like Pan Country Park in Newport, some around Brading Down and one in the Sandown Community Orchard.
It's really fun for both children and grown ups alike and a perfect home schooling activity for the next few months and who knows could become a life long hobby as their are hundreds of thousands of the caches all over the world !  

 


Golden Hill Country Park Update 


Over the last few months work has continued at Golden Hill. Anyone who has visited the site recently will have noticed the new signage that is being used and appreciated. In the autumn the annual grass cut and hedge trimming was completed. This is essential work with the absence of livestock grazing in order to maintain the open grassland that is continually being colonised by pioneer trees and shrubs. The grassland at the fort is a rich and diverse habitat and one of the main reasons the site is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and receives assistance under the Countryside Stewardship scheme administered by Natural England. The many paths and open spaces have also been maintained to provide natural fire breaks in the event of a serious wildfire occurring.

More recently we have undertaken further clearance work to reinstate grassland areas, open views, restore grown in paths, expose historical building foundations. Given time and regular management these areas will revert to grassland as has been shown following large clearances some ten years ago. Those areas that were previously grown over with brambles and scrub have now been incorporated into the existing grassland and are demonstrating an increased diversity in plant life.

Other work has included opening up areas around the woodland ponds, woodland path widening and scallop forming, targeted surfacing of paths and ditch clearance. Opening paths and forming scallops allows light into the habitat that will stimulate plant growth encouraging grasses and flowers to grow along the sides of paths. With regular rotation management in these areas a graded woodland edge can be encouraged to form that is often the richest part of the habitat in terms of species diversity with a range of plant life and different growth stages, light and shade. 

Work to come includes three new benches, new steps, repair and moving the timber notice board to the car park area and movement of benches in the orchard area to make better use of the present-day views. Perhaps the biggest tasked planned is the creation of the willow maze sculpture, which all being permitted will start in March.

In the last few months, we have spoken to many park users who appreciate the work undertaken and enjoy using the park and we hope you will continue to get great pleasure from using this wonderful open space. We always welcome your feedback. 
 

The Gift to Nature Shop 

Shop News


Like most retail, our little shop in Newport has had to close in line with government regulations.
Undeterred we will continue to add stock to our online web-shop shop to try to offer as much as we can online and via click and collect. 

We also have some of our preloved stock on both Ebay and garden stoneware on Wightbay so please do continue to support your local countryside by committing to buying local and hopefully from us. 

We Need Your Stuff !
We are currently accepting donations for the shop preloved  section, so if you are having a clear-out in lockdown, please feel free to donate any quality clothes or home items to us.
You can drop your donations to our office at The Shide Meadows Centre, Shide Lane Newport,  PO35 1HR
Between the hours of 10am - 1pm Mondays, Tuesday, and Thursdays, or call us to arrange on 01983 296244

We will be 'live streaming' on Facebook regularly to give you a personal guided tour of what we have to offer and Shara and Hannah will starting to think about planning for Spring planting!

Please follow us on our Facebook page to keep updated on what offers we are running each week.

We are very pleased to say we are also part of the new Wight Gift card scheme, so you will be able to give prepaid vouchers to your friends and loved  ones for them to choose their own purchases. A great way to shop local and introduce our range to more customers.

We will update you via our social media when we have more details
Find us at 12 Holyrood Street Newport - Just opposite Hursts.

 

Dates for your Diary


The planned willow maze installation at Golden Hill is due to start work mid March (government guidelines allowing) followed by an official celebration event of all the heritage and site improvement works completed in 2020.
At the moment we are hoping for the beginning of May.
Watch this space for more updates.

 
Example of similar installation created by Blythfield Willow

Support your local countryside when you shop online 


Please remember to use easyfundraising every time you shop online! Over 4,000 shops and sites will donate, so you can raise FREE donations for us no matter what you’re buying. These donations really help us out, so please sign up if you haven’t yet. It’s easy and FREE! You can get started at https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/gifttonature/?utm_campaign=raise-more&utm_content=en-n2

 
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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