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Issue 42 August '13

Wednesday 28th August 2013

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Conserve West Wight

The West Wight has a small-scale and diverse landscape which is both beautiful and inspiring. Our aim is to  work with local people to conserve these qualities for the enjoyment of current and future generations. To help us do this, we have developed a range of innovative projects. Click on the links below to learn more about some of the things we are doing. 

Hop Festival and Traditional Skills Fayre 2010

West Wight Ponds Project

Festival of Traditional Skills 2009

Hedgelaying Training

Cemetery Wardens

Heathland Restoration

Hop Festival and Tradional Skills Fayre 2010 - This festival sees the coming together of our hugely successful Traditonal Skills Fesitval in 2009 with the first harvest of Ventnor Botanic Garden hops and the creation of a botanic garden ale.
This free event will be held at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the weekend of 25/26 September and will include beer tasting, traditional music and dancing, local food stalls and plant sales. There will also be walks and talks on a variety of related subjects.
Free buses will be on hand to ferry revellers from the West Wight to and from the festival. Click on our 'What's on' tab above for further details.
The festival is the result of the first partnership between WWLP, the Ventnor Botanic Garden Friends' Society and Blunt Events.
Read a fascinating insight from Chris Kidd, Head Gardener of the Ventnor Botanic Gardens into the story behind hops by clicking here or read an anlysis of the Ventnor hops by Richard Harvey, Master Brewer of Goddards Brewery by clicking here.

West Wight Ponds Project - In 2009 we awarded the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust a grant of £13,700 through our Landscape Heritage Grant programme. The award will help the Trust to employ a Ponds Officer who will oversee the creation of nine new ponds in the West Wight.

The Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

The works will be accompanied by a programme of education to improve understanding within the local community of these precious habitats and the species they support.
The grant also allows for an Island-wide survey of ponds called 'Newts in your Neighbourhood' To find out more, including how you can get involved, please click here.

For a full list of the projects that have been awarded a Landscape Heritage Grant please click here, or on the 'Grants' tab above.

Festival of Traditional Skills - Hedgerows, thatched roofs, coppiced woodlands and lime mortar buildings help to make our countryside look so attractive. However, the skills required to maintain these are in danger of dying out in the West Wight.
Visitor tries their hand at hedge laying (photo courtesy of Paul Blackley)Our aim is to encourage a revival of interest in and understanding of these important countryside crafts to ensure they continue to be passed from generation to generation. 
More than 1,200 people joined us across the weekend of 24/25 October 2009 for the West Wight's inaugral Festival of Traditional Skills at Afton Park, Freshwater.
Visitors enjoyed demonstrations of  willow weaving, hedgelaying, carpentry and wood turning. Many took the opportunity to test their own skills under the guidance of professionals such as hedgelayer extraordinaire Dick Pulleine.
Our aim is to help the festival become an established feature in the West Wight calendar and provide a showcase for our traditional crafts and skills.
See more pictures here.

Hedgelaying Training- We are keen to support exisiting events such as the Annual Hedge Laying Competition by helping more people to participate and improving the calibre of entrants.
We are keen to support exisiting events such as the Annual Hedge Laying Competition by helping more people to participate and improving the calibre of entrants.
With the AONB Partnership we helped to fund a weekend of training in the craft of hedge laying for both novices and 'experts' in early February 2010.
Our thanks go to Dunsbury Farm for letting us novices loose on their hedgerows!!
See more pictures here.

Cemetery Wardens - Burial grounds, churchyards and cemeteries are places where wildlife and history are found side by side

Burial grounds, churchyards and cemeteries are places where wildlife and history are found side by side.
Our Cemetery Wardens project is helping local people to get involved in the care and conservation of historic cemetries across the West Wight. It is being run by the Footprint Trust on our behalf.
If you are interested in getting involved or know someone who is please contact the Footprint Trust on 01983 822282 or email

Heathland Restoration - Heathland is an incredibly important habitat which supports a range of plant and animal species not found elsewhere. However over the past 100 years the UK has lost almost 80% of its heathland. This project aims to help reverse the decline in the West Wight by returning sites at Ningwood, Bouldnor, Brigshtone and Mottistone to native heathland.

Ningwood Common Wildlife Reserve is the only place in the country where you will find a natural population of the Reddish Buff Moth. It is also the last site on the Isle of Wight for the small pearl-bordered fritillary.
In 2008, the Hants and IOW Wildlife Trust began a much needed clearance of the scrub on the site to increase the area for the heathland on which the caterpillar of the Reddish Buff Moth is dependent.
The scrub clearance has been complemented by the introduction of grazing animals during the late summer months to help keep regrowth in check. They also help to distribute seeds across the site with their trotters.

At Bouldnor, regular walkers of the coastal footpath would not have failed to notice the impressive views that have been opened up by the felling of 6 hectares of Forestry Commission pine plantation.
By June 2009, most of the timber had been removed, allowing heathland plants such as bell heather to start re-colonising the site and volunteers from the IOW Natural History and Archaeological Society to record new growth on the site.
Scrub removal at Ningwood
If you want to learn more about this work or wish to get involved in volunteering please contact the Wildlife Trust on 01983 533180.
See more pictures here.

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