Trust launches major appeal to support wildlife on Island


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has launched a major appeal to support wildlife on the Island, raising funds for an important land purchase in the Eastern Yar.

Together, Parsonage Farm and Hill Heath form a rich tapestry of habitats, from ancient woodland and river, to grazed pasture and marshland. By purchasing this land the Trust has an excellent opportunity to give the Island’s nationally important wildlife the space it needs to thrive.

The sites are adjacent to Martin’s Wood, an existing Wildlife Trust nature reserve, and form part of a wider network of sites managed by the Trust and other conservation bodies. The two pieces of land are perfectly placed to create a flourishing landscape for wildlife. If successful the land purchase would become the largest Wildlife Trust reserve on the Island totalling 124 acres.

Jamie Marsh, Reserves Manager for the Trust on the Isle of Wight, said: “We can see a future here where red squirrels leap amongst the branches, dormice nestle in the undergrowth and bats flit across the evening skyline. With an abundance of insects and invertebrates rising from the marshes to feed small birds and mammals, we could be treated to the sight of predators such as buzzards and barn owls.

“The stretch of river running through Parsonage Farm could become a real stronghold for water voles and other wetland wildlife once restored to its natural state. And could introducing beavers be one of the solutions? Elsewhere, these ‘river engineers’ are breathing life back into degraded floodplains, and they could do the same on the Island. This could be the start of a much wilder future for the Island.”

Thanks to a generous gift in the will of a local Island resident, the Trust already has a contribution towards the purchase price. The Trust also has a generous offer from a supporter to ‘match’ the first £20,000 raised so every pound given will be doubled, but there is an urgent need to raise £245,000 to complete the purchase before the end of November. To find out more about the appeal, or make a donation please visit hiwwt.org.uk/iowappeal or call (01489) 774408.