This is a 1.44 hectare site of semi-improved acid grassland with hedgerows around. Formally farmland this site was acquired in 1955 for an extension for the cemetery and was subsequently grazed and used as allotments. Following a number of attempts to develop the site it was leased to Wight Nature Fund in 2007 and declared a nature reserve in 2011. Wight Nature Fund handed back management to Isle of Wight Council in 2021, and it joined the Gift to Nature portfolio in April 2022.
What to look and listen for…
There are a number of species of grass including meadow foxtail and cocksfoot. Herbs include birdsfoot trefoil, creeping cinquefoil, oxeye daisy, fleabane, field scabious and lesser stitchwort. Bluebells appear in Spring. Given this site’s position in amongst a large number of houses, you might also spot some garden escapees including Spanish bluebell, Michaelmas daisy, three corned leak, montbretia and cultivated daffodils. Look out for oak, rowan, apple and grey willow with hawthorn blossoming in Spring.
You are likely to see a variety of butterflies including common blue, gatekeeper, meadow brown, marbled white, ringlet and orange tip. The six-spot burnett moth is a day flier and is black with red dots. Look out for the spectacular Wasp Spider between July and October in the long grass where they spin their intricate web.
Listen out for the great green bush cricket and lots of common garden birds. Additionally the site is visited by kestrel, swallow, swift, willow warbler, whitethroat and blackcap and wagtails which love the newly-mown meadow. The green woodpecker’s laughing call has earned it many different names in English folklore, including yaffle, laughing Betsey and yaffingale. If you are lucky, you may spot a fox, hedgehog or bank vole.
… and smell and touch
Wild garlic, three-cornered leek and wild carrot are among the whiffier plants in the meadow, but also sniff the hawthorn blossom. If it smells of vanilla it will be common hawthorn, if it smells of rotten corpses then it is one of the other varieties,
Go on a tree hunt and touch the different barks – you should find willow, poplar, apple, ash and oak. You are welcome to collect the blackberries and fruits of the hawthorn and blackthorn bushes but beware of the thorns and leave some for the birds. Look under a large stone and you may find a slow-worm.
Nature at home and activities on site
We have produced a super Colouring Sheet for you to download and complete at home. We have also produced an I Spy Sheet and Map for you to print at home, or download to your phone and take to the site. And become a Bug Bunch Ranger. All these activities and resources can be found here.
Managing the site
This site is a Countryside Stewardship Scheme. We therefore do not cut the meadow until the seeds have set.
How to get there
On foot and by bike – The site can be accessed from Cemetery Road, just off James Avenue. The grass access is from the roundabout near the cemetery entrance. There are two cycle racks on site.
By bus – Cemetery Road (Routes 2 and 3) and 10 minutes walk. (Bus Timetables)
By car – There is no car park on this site but there is street parking nearby. Approximate code for your sat nav is PO37 7DR.
There is a locked field gate from the pavement. To the side of this there is an open access point 1.6 metres wide. From here there is a mown grass path of 100 metres to the site entrance.
There is a Information Pillar and cycle racks to the left, as you enter the site from the grass path. The site information pillar has a QR code that links to an audible description creating a mind’s eye view of the area to allow a visually impaired person to enter with confidence. The information pillar also has a QR code that links to a map and activities. There is also a site map on the Information Pillar.
There is also an information board near this point.
Paths through the site are unsurfaced and can be muddy particularly during the winter months. There are no internal gates or stiles. The site is in a countryside stewardship scheme, which requires us to leave it unmown until the flowers have set seed. therefore the paths can be slightly tricky for people with mobility problems in early summer.
There are no nearby public toilets. The nearest toilets are in the towns of Sandown and Shanklin.
We have written an Access Statement for this site. This includes mobility and sensory issues and opportunities. We welcome feedback from users.
We have produced an audible description creating a mind’s eye view of the area to allow a visually impaired person to enter with confidence. It will describe the entrance, the size of the area, where to find further information or help and any major obstacles or features. Information has been produced by visually impaired people ensuring it is useful and accurate. Access the description by scanning the QR code to the left of this text on your phone or tablet, or by clicking here.
There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on volunteers to help with many tasks on our sites and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Our shop raises money to support our work and needs a team of volunteers. Or maybe you would like to help us with events. Find out more here.
You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.