My first visit and a place I would certainly return to in the future. A smooth ferry crossing from Portsmouth of just 40 odd minutes and we were on the Island and on the road to Shanklyn which was to be our base for the long weekend. A short detour was made first to Ventnor for a lunch of freshly caught fish with hand cut chips, delicious! Especially so being eaten outdoors in glorious sunshine.
Cascade gardens: On the esplanade the garden is crossed with a waterfall, laid out in 1903.
Common Lizard. Sunbathing on a wall next to the Cascade gardens.
Culver Down. Subtle sunset colours.
Shanklyn Old Village. There are numerous delightful thatched dwellings in the village.
Newtown Estuary and Harbour.
I imagine someone would know where to find what they were looking for amongst the colourful collection of bits and bobs.
Fort Victoria Pier.
The pier was erected in 1856 to service Fort Victoria near Yarmouth. The fort is now part of the Fort Victoria Country Park.
Sadly, although Fort Victoria pier still exists it has been badly neglected, and is now fenced off to prevent the public from approaching. Without urgent restoration work, the pier is in danger of being lost forever.
Newtown Nature Reserve.
A pity I did not spot any Corky-fruited water dropwort to photograph.....what a wonderful name for a wildflower. It is a member of the carrot family and poisonous to grazing stock so maybe there is not too much of it present, especially as there is a flock of Hebridean sheep grazing in a field not too far away from the reserve.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway 1940s weekend.
Jitterbug dance displays, songs from the 40's, civilian and military vehicles, a working farmyard threshing machine, Spitfire fighter plane, Punch and Judy, fairground rides, steam train rides......a fun filled day!
Brading Station (very quaint with helpful volunteers) is the main gateway to the RSPB Brading Marsh Reserve.
Butterflies were the highlight at the reserve. A lot of habitat work needs to be done for better views over the reserve. Funding I was told was the problem, such a pity as it could be a well used and productive reserve given a little attention. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable walk.
Alverston Mead was the next port of call.
The woodland walk was good with a boardwalk along a decent stretch of the walk. We waited patiently by the hide along with a 'local' couple for Red Squirrels to hopefully put in an appearance at the feeding station as they regularly do to feast on the monkey nuts that are left for them. We waited in vain but on the return walk were rewarded with super views of 3 Red Squirrels as they seemingly played as they raced along the branches of the trees. A lovely end to an enjoyable day.
River Yar, Alverston Mead.
An interesting link added for any Geologists amongst us.
Alum bay is well known for its multi-coloured sand cliffs and the area in general. Leading up to theNeedles Old Battery there are spectacular views across the Solent. The Chairlift to the beach and views of the multi-coloured sand cliffs did not appeal so we took a ride on an open topped bus and enjoyed the views as the bus wound its way along the cliff top to the National trust Property, The Needles Battery.The views of the Needles, Lighthouse and beyond were really good.
Multi-coloured sand cliffs
Birds were at a premium though I did not expect an abundance of birds at this time of year. The highlights were the sightings of Little Owl, Common and Little Tern, Little Egret, Cormorant, Curlew, Buzzard, Oystercatcher and female Gadwall at Newtown Nature Reserve with Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff heard only. Whitethroat, Blue and Great Tit, Grey Heron, and
Skylark at Brading Marsh. Gannet, B H Gull, Robin, Kestrel, Starlings, Rook and Jackdaw at Alum Bay. Pied Wagtail and Common Tern at Fort Victoria Country Park.
Oystercatchers at Newtown Estuary and of course the numerous Hirundines and Swifts seen whilst out and about on the island.
Butterflies were seen in the majority of places visited and a Stoat was seen dashing across a road as we headed for Alum Bay.