What does the Medina Valley mean to you?  Speak up and get creative!

Get involved and have your say in an ambitious new project that aims to raise awareness of the Island’s Medina Valley.

Medina Valley covers East Cowes, Cowes, Gurnard, Northwood, Newport and Whippingham – the six parishes at the heart of the Island that are linked together by the River Medina. A third of visitors to the Island will travel through the area, and around 1 in 5 will stay here.

A public consultation is being launched to help position Medina Valley as an attractive place to live, work and visit. Your views will influence the creation of a branding toolkit that will be used to promote the area, on and off the Island.

The Valley contains many of the Island’s biggest businesses, award winning attractions such as Osborne House, and hosts world class events including Cowes Week, the Isle of Wight Festival, and the Royal Isle of Wight County Show. It’s rich in history, a creative hotspot, great for shopping and eating out, with easy transport links. Away from the bustle, you’ll find natural beauty and rare wildlife, with trails that are much loved by runners and cyclists.

Those are the views of the team that are coordinating the project… but what do you think? Have your say by answering a quick survey at www.medinavalley.co.uk – the deadline for all comments is Friday 1 February.

Will Myles, MD of Visit Isle of Wight, says: “I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved in this important work surrounding the Medina Valley. It is a fantastic opportunity to shape the way the Medina Valley is portrayed in the future and increase its potential as a tourism destination, so it is vital to get in on the ground floor and make sure your opinion is heard.”

This project is being funded by a Coastal Communities Fund grant, and coordinated by a team that includes Natural Enterprise, IW Chamber of Commerce, Quay Arts, Medina Valley Centre, IW College, IW Estuaries Partnership, Visit Isle of Wight, the Isle of Wight Council and design agency, Words and Stuff

“Please take two minutes to tell us your views,” says project lead Graham Biss from Natural Enterprise. “Similar projects have been a huge hit for other destinations, increasing visitor numbers and the public awareness of what the area can offer, so let’s work together and see what we can achieve. It’s your Medina Valley, so get involved!”

Competition time

A competition has been launched to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Medina Valley.

The theme is ‘A postcard from Medina Valley’. We’re looking for photographs or your reflections on the area, which could take the form of a poem, an open letter or a description of your favourite place or memory. You could choose to focus on your favourite bit of countryside, coast, attraction, town or secret spot, so long as it’s in Medina Valley. The winning entries will be displayed at a launch event in the Spring. The overall winner will receive a family day ticket to Monkey Haven, an award winning attraction that’s based in the Valley.

You’ll need to drop your artwork off at the Natural Enterprise office at the Shide Meadow Centre (behind National Tyres in Shide) by Friday 1 March. Please include a card with your name and contact details.

You can also email photographs, digital artwork or any text based entries to medina@wordsandstuff.co.uk