An early Christmas present for wildlife on the Isle of Wight

Parsonage Farm © Ian Pratt

This October Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust launched an ambitious appeal to purchase two very important pieces of land on the Isle of Wight.

Parsonage Farm and Hill Heath form a rich tapestry of habitats, from ancient woodland and river to grazed pasture and marshland. The sites are perfectly placed on the outskirts of Martin’s Wood, an existing Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Here, we can create a flourishing landscape for wildlife on the Eastern Yar, totalling 124 acres and giving the Island’s nationally important wildlife the space it needs to thrive.

The Trust is delighted to announce that they exceeded the target of £245,000 thanks to their incredibly generous supporters, and they have now purchased both pieces of land. The acquisition of Parsonage Farm and Hill Heath, combined with our existing Martin’s Wood reserve, has created the Trusts largest nature reserve.

The reserve is composed of a mosaic of habitats including floodplain meadow, acid grassland, fen, river, a lake, ancient woodland and wood pasture, supporting a wide range of important wetland species such as water voles, kingfisher, barn owls, snipe, woodcock, red squirrels, dormice, bats, many woodland birds and plants like wood anemones and bluebells.

Debbie Tann, CEO Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said “What a way to end the year and what fabulous news for wildlife on the Island just before Christmas!

“We have such incredible plans for wildlife here, and will be undertaking a feasibility study for the introduction of beavers next year.”

The purchase would not have been possible without the local community and local corporates who supported the appeal. Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications for Southern Co-op, a long term supporter of the Trust said "this land will now become an integral part of a much larger network of sites on the Isle of Wight enabling our native wildlife to thrive.

"Work like this is vital in helping to protect our precious green spaces for our communities and generations to come. We all need to play our part which is why this campaign has been incredibly special as every donation has made a difference. A special thanks to everyone who contributed and the Wildlife Trust for making it happen."