Help us protect Newtown National Nature Reserve

The harbour wall at Newtown National Nature Reserve at low tide

Newtown National Nature Reserve needs your help. In order to protect the rare and unusual creatures that live here, and the last remains of a once thriving salt industry, we need to raise £42,000 over two years. That’s because the manmade walls that protect this important environment from inundation are rapidly deteriorating. Now, we need to replace 2,000 pine piles and over 50 metres of stone wall, in order to ensure that the lagoons and marshes of the Island’s only National Nature Reserve continue to be defended.

Newtown Harbour Wall Update April 2018

Many thanks to everybody who has donated so far. It’s because of your generosity that we have managed to raise over £13,000 towards the first stage of repairs. We still need your help though to reach £42,000, so if you would like to donate, please see the details below.

Thank you

Donate online

Help us save the walls and raise £42,000 by donating at JustGiving

Habitat and heritage at risk

Taking a gentle stroll out to the old boathouse, or whilst exploring the quay at Newtown, you may not have realised, but you’re walking through what was once part of a thriving salt industry. Although the industry prospered for many centuries, by the 1930s it became cheaper to transport salt from mines further away, or to use new ways of preserving food. Consequently, salt production at Newtown ceased. Today, there are just a few remains and nature has largely reclaimed the site. The salt feeder ponds have become mini saline lagoons, within which live rare and unusual invertebrates, such as sand-lagoon shrimps, sea slugs and brittle stars, which are specially adapted to the highly saline conditions.

A sea slug found at Newtown National Nature Reserve
A sea slug on a specimen tray from Newtown National Nature Reserve
A sea slug found at Newtown National Nature Reserve

Why we need your help

For many years, a pine pile wall has protected the ancient salt ponds and salt marsh, but the piles are now starting to rot and fall over, exposing the soft clay behind. We need to replace 2,000 of these piles, whilst leaving the old ones in situ to provide humus for the sea couch grass that binds the earth bund beyond.

Lagoon sand shrimps live in the waters at Newtown
A lagoon sand shrimp on a black background
Lagoon sand shrimps live in the waters at Newtown

A stone wall also provides protection against the sea, but due to an increase in extreme tides, part of it is starting to collapse. Although some areas have been repaired by our team of rangers and volunteers, many metres need to be completely rebuilt. We are hoping to replace several sections this year, but the work is costly, labour intensive and can only be undertaken when the tide is out.

How you can help

If you would like to help save and protect this important environment, as well as ensure that a popular walkway is maintained, then we would be very grateful for any donations, large or small.

£10 will allow us to replace one post, whilst a donation of £200 will cover the cost of replacing one metre of stone wall.

There are several ways in which you can donate:

  • Text NTNH95 £10 (or an alternative amount) to 70070
  • At JustGiving Newtown Wall (please follow link below)
  • By contacting the National Trust Estate Office, Longstone Farmhouse, Strawberry Lane, Mottistone, Isle of Wight, PO30 4EA, tel. 01983 741020.

Thank you for supporting this project and helping to protect Newtown for future generations to enjoy.