Newtown's 21st birthday BioBlitz
Newtown is one of the Isle of Wight’s most beautiful locations and in recognition of its national importance for wildlife, it was made a National Nature Reserve 21 years ago. On 2 June (10am-4pm), to celebrate its landmark birthday we’re holding our biggest ever bug and creature hunt with a BioBlitz, and we need wildlife lovers of all ages to come along and help us find out just how many plants and animals call Newtown home.
Become an explorer for the day
Joining with nature experts, you’ll be racing against the clock to find as many different species as you can amongst the differing habitats of Newtown. Working alongside teams from the National Trust and Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as HIWWT (Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust), Wight Squirrel Group, IW Bat Group, Medina Valley Centre and the IWNHAS (Isle of Wight Natural History & Archaeological Society), you’ll be helping to record as many different animals and plants as possible. Your important discoveries will then help nature specialists and scientists understand how wildlife at the Island’s only National Nature Reserve is changing, and how best to protect it in the future.
A special place for wildlife
With the cleanest water in the whole of the Solent, and one of the least disturbed estuaries along the south coast of England, Newtown is one of the Island’s top places for wildlife. As you search the colourful hay meadows, look out for wildflowers such as yellow rattle, and try to spot orange-tip butterflies dancing in the lanes. See if you can discover birds such as little owls and black-headed gulls around the estuary, and listen for chiffchaffs and great spotted woodpeckers in the woods.
Whilst you’re hunting high and low, take the chance to add to the fun and tick off some of your 50 things. Hold one of the scary beasts you find (no. 30), set up a short (this is against the clock) snail race (no. 7), or track some wild animals to see if you can add them to your list (no. 34).
Saved for ever, for everyone
Through the efforts of local people, Newtown Estuary was saved from the threat of a nuclear power station in the 1960s. They raised enough money to buy it for the National Trust and undertook wildlife surveys to prove to the authorities how special the place is. This summer follow in their footsteps and discover if any new species of flora or fauna have arrived since then.
Last year we held a BioBlitz at St Helens and found 650 different species. This has helped experts understand how the habitat of this precious coastal environment is changing, and has contributed to the creation of a conservation management plan for the future. Help us find even more this year at Newtown and make it an extra special birthday.