NEWLY RESURFACED POPULAR PATH OFFICIALLY OPENED BY USERS

Nearly 20,000 trips have been recorded on a newly resurfaced shared-use path between Shanklin and Wroxall in the last three months.

The four kilometre route, which runs between Lower Hyde and Yarborough Road, has automatic counters installed at each end which record the number of trips on a daily basis.

The route has recently been fully resurfaced using funding from the Isle of Wight Council’s Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project, which is funded through the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).

The route has had a new bitumen and gravel surface laid on top of a cement bound base. The gravel dressing provides a natural colour to the surface and is designed to be in keeping with the rural surroundings of the route, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Previously, the surface was prone to flooding which resulted in large mud patches. It is now suitable for many types of user, including families with pushchairs, wheelchair and mobility scooter users, cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

The route runs over council owned land and use was formally on a permissive basis, but as part of the project it has been designated as a bridleway, securing its future as a designated right of way.

The £400,000 scheme was carried out on behalf of the council by Island Roads.

Councillor Luisa Hillard, Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, said: “The Shanklin to Wroxall route is a very popular one and the newly resurfaced path is a fine example of the improvements the Isle of Wight is benefitting from under the LSTF scheme. The statistics showing the number of times people have used the path since June are very impressive.

“This is another example of the council’s commitment to providing quality shared routes across the Island. We are aiming to improve the standard of the walking and cycling infrastructure on the Island, not only as a benefit for local residents, but also as a means of encouraging more people to visit the Island and travel around by foot, cycle or on public transport”.

Ken Thomas, 87, from Shanklin had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the path and he was joined by numerous users including walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

He uses a mobility scooter to get around and added: “This path is a superb facility for people like me who rely on a mobility scooter. This is because on pavements you can get in the way of pedestrians whereas here I can come for three miles, have a wonderful day out and really enjoy myself.”

Visit Isle of Wight is currently marketing the Island as a top cycling destination, and the organisation’s sustainable transport marketing executive Tom Ransom said: “It is great to see the council investing in this popular shared use path.

“Improving facilities such as these helps supports tourism activities such as the Red Squirrel Trail. This has been tailored for cyclists and part of this follows this route between Shanklin and Wroxall. It is an important part of Visit Isle of Wight’s Bicycle Island cycle tourism offer and was recently featured in the Guardian newspaper as one of the country’s top family rides.”

The works were carried out in two phases, with track widening, drainage and vegetation clearance taking place in 2013. The resurfacing of the route was completed earlier this year. The route was officially opened on Monday 29 September.
END

Notes to Editors:

Please find attached a photo of the official opening on Monday 29 September, where representatives from many types of users of the path were in attendance. Please credit Isle of Wight Council if you use this photo.
Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636
Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk

Fifty Shades of Wight!

The Isle of Wight has launched a new campaign, to highlight some of the finest experiences now on offer in one of the most enduring holiday destinations in the UK.

Shades of Wight is aimed at aspirational and discerning travellers, who want to discover – or perhaps rediscover – the UK’s “holiday island”, and to experience some of the many pleasures to be found here either in terms of accommodation, fine food and drink, striking landscapes, or unusual activities.

All contained within one high quality 20-page brochure, the campaign itself helps to highlight some of the very best the hotels, guest houses, self-catering cottages and romantic tree-houses on the Island – from the welcoming Fishbourne Inn close to the harbour, to the 5 AA gold star Hambrough in Ventnor. And for something completely different, why not consider the Spitbank Napoleonic Fort off the coast of the Island?

Each page of the brochure reveals another secret waiting to be uncovered, including Steephill Cove – arguably the quaintest place on the whole of the Isle of Wight, where it’s possible to stay in the secluded Little Tamarisk, where guests can watch the sun set while sampling some delicious fresh seafood and c chilled glass of white wine.

And once the sun has gone down, how about experiencing a little bit of stargazing under the Wight Nights sky? Professor Bill Martin of the University of Hertfordshire Centre for Astrophysics and Atmospheric Instrumentation Research (no less!) has stated: “With the data we have from the Isle of Wight, you potentially have the best combination of dark skies and clear weather in the UK”.

The Island dances to a different beat in the towns and villages at night, when it comes alive to the sound of music. And while its new, annual Acoustic Isle festival is a testimony to the number of venues where visitors can find live music these days, its historic pubs and inns – such as the 15th century White Horse in Whitwell and 16th century Buddle Inn – is another feature of the Island being highlighted in the new Shades of Wight brochure.

One of the great pleasures of visiting The Isle of Wight is the chance to enjoy the great outdoors: to “drive less and see more” on one of its many cycle tracks, or to take a walk on the wild side…and go in search of the red squirrels which have made the Island their home.

The brochure also explains how to reach the Island, and full details are now featured online at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/shades-of-wight.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson
Tel: 07766 705672 E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

TOP ACCOLADE FOR ISLE OF WIGHT PARK

Historic Ventnor Park on the Isle of Wight has been awarded the Park of the Year Award at the South and South East England in Bloom Awards.

It is the first time one of the Isle of Wight Council’s parks has been named park of the year at the prestigious awards, which this year were staged in Brighton.

Ventnor Park is one of four Isle of Wight Council parks recognised at the awards.

In the large park category, Appley Park, Ryde was awarded a silver gilt medal certificate, and Puckpool Park, Ryde was awarded a silver medal certificate. In the small park category, the Cascades, Ventnor was awarded a silver medal certificate.

As well as being park of the year, Ventnor Park also received a gold medal certificate.

The council’s parks manager, Nigel Leppard, together with the Island manager for the council’s grounds maintenance contractor John O’Conner Ltd, Stan Hayden, received the awards on behalf of the council. The park is maintained by John O’Conner Ltd via its partnership contract with the council.

The awards at the event were presented by South and South East England in Bloom chairman, Peter Holman, Jim Buttress from the BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge, and Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

This year was one step better for Ventnor Park, which last year was awarded a gold medal for the first time at the awards.

The judges this year described Ventnor Park’s summer bedding borders and raised planters as “superb”. They also noted that “horticultural maintenance was of a high standard”, and described the park as “the quintessential Victorian park and the jewel in the crown of the Island’s parks”.

Executive member with responsibility for the public realm, Councillor Luisa Hillard, said: “This is a magnificent accolade for Ventnor Park and the council’s parks in general.

“It is the first time one of our parks has been recognised in this way and is deserved acknowledgment for the excellent efforts of all those who contribute to the upkeep of the park, and who take such pride in their work.”
Local member, Councillor Steve Stubbings, said: “We are so proud that Ventnor Park has achieved this top award for the south and south east. This is a real feather in the cap for Ventnor and the Island, and for the park to be described as the jewel in the crown of the Island’s parks is especially pleasing.

“I would like to join in the thanks and congratulations to all those who contribute to making it such a pleasurable place for us all to enjoy.”

Ventnor Park dates from the 19th century and covers an area of about seven acres. It features landscaped grounds over a range of different levels, with mature trees, shrubs, herbaceous and bedding borders, a bandstand, a stream with gentle falls and water fowl, a putting green (under concession), and an adult outdoor exercise equipment area.

END

Red Funnel to invest £2.2m following a record breaking summer

Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries is to invest £2.2million in a major refurbishment of the interior of a second ro-pax ferry, MV Red Osprey which operates between the UK Port of Southampton and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

The investment follows a record breaking year for the company with traffic levels up 15% over the main summer holiday period. This growth has seen Red Funnel’s Southampton-East Cowes route overtake Portsmouth-Fishbourne as the most popular cross-Solent route for vehicles.*

The company’s success has been due in part to the major refurbishment and upgrade of the passenger accommodation on MV Red Falcon which returned to service in April 2014 and immediately set the standard for cross-Solent travel. Red Funnel is also benefitting from the repositioning of the Isle of Wight as an all season destination for active couples and families, a strategy which has seen the value of the Island’s tourism economy grow by 6% in the past 12 months.** The company is also reaping the rewards from its ongoing investment in customer service which earned it a 2014 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and year-to-date customer satisfaction levels of 91%.***

The new look planned for Red Osprey will almost be identical to the refurbishment carried out on Red Falcon although the design will incorporate some minor changes following operational experience and customer feedback.

Kevin George, CEO commented: “We are delighted to announce this new tranche of investment following such positive feedback received from the customers who have travelled on Red Falcon since April. The traffic figures for this year are very gratifying in that more and more customers are choosing Red Funnel for great service at competitive prices. The refurbishment of Red Osprey further underpins our commitment to the Isle of Wight as we work with partners and stakeholders to help grow the Island’s economy.

The contract for Red Osprey has been awarded to local marine interior specialist Trimline, supported by other local specialist suppliers. The work is scheduled to start on the ship in the New Year and will all be done in Southampton. The new look Red Osprey will re-enter service in time for Easter 2015.

New look Red Osprey – Key Highlights

– 55% more inside seats
– 2 new brand new lounges, one of which is pet friendly
– Contemporary new interior design, look and feel
– Air-conditioning installed throughout
– New food & beverage menu with free drink refills
– Free high bandwidth Wi-Fi in all passenger areas
– Lift and wheelchair access to the outer promenade deck

Main Passenger (B ) Deck in detail

This deck will be stripped back to its shell and transformed into a modern contemporary travel environment featuring a mix of comfortable airline-style seats with tray backs, dining tables for different size groups and comfortable nested table and chairs for socialising in the bar area . This will give customers a wide choice depending on whether they want to dine, work or stretch out and relax.

TV screens will be fitted throughout with the ability to show live TV, news headlines, travel information and points of interest along the route. Free Wi-Fi is available on this deck and charging points for phones and laptops will be located in the seating areas.

A brand new galley will be fitted to serve a new range of freshly prepared hot and cold food. Red Funnel’s famous English breakfast will remain the signature dish but with a local twist thanks to more locally sourced ingredients.

Customers in need of refreshment will benefit from free tea and coffee refills in ReFuel and two Steam Café Bars will serve a full range of premium coffees, delicious cakes and slices. The stylish new bar will be stocked with premium draft and bottled beers, champagne, wines and spirits and a new onboard shop will sell Isle of Wight gifts, souvenirs and Red Funnel branded merchandise. Customers will also be able to obtain visitor information and make or amend ferry bookings onboard and purchase event and attraction tickets during the crossing.

Upper (A) Deck Lounges in detail

Two bright modern passenger lounges offering panoramic views will be installed on this deck leading out to a promenade deck which is accessible to wheelchair users. Each air conditioned lounge will have its own Steam Cafe Bar serving hot and cold food, free Wi-Fi and 240 volt charging points. Separate toilet facilities will be provided together with lift access. One of the lounges will be designated as pet friendly.
Sun (AA)Deck in detail

Accessible from A Deck, the new fore and aft sun decks will offer unrivalled views of the yachts and ships passing through the Solent. Teak style seating is provided on this deck.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

*based on the number of vehicles carried 15 June to 9 August 2014. Source: Isle of Wight Council
**From mid July 2013 to mid July 2014 it is estimated that visitors spent £280m whilst on the Isle of Wight, up 6% compared to the previous year. Source Visit Isle of Wight Limited.
**Based on 7,977 Red Funnel customer reviews left on Feefo.com

Further information about the refurbishment of Red Osprey can be found at: -www.redfunnel.co.uk/newlook
Red Falcon refurbishment video: -http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=360aN6MgcKQ

Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820. Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.1m passengers and over 700,000 vehicles on its ferry route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1m passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. In addition to ferry travel, Red Funnel is the only cross-Solent operator to offer ferry inclusive bonded holiday accommodation, attraction tickets, festival and event tickets and activity packages. Sub-brands include ‘Red Jet’ (the Hi-Speed passenger only ferry service serving West Cowes) and two food & beverage brands, ‘Steam Coffee Company’ and ‘ReFuel’.

The company is a founder member of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, the Island’s not for profit destination management organisation and Red Funnel sponsors or supports most of the Island’s premier events including Bestival, AAM Cowes Week, Isle of Arts, the Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Isle of Wight Newport Jazz Festival, Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Rhythm Tree, JPMAM Round the Island Race, V-Dub Island, Ventnor Fringe Festival and Wolverton Manor Garden Show as well as a range of community and niche interest events.

For further information or images, please contact Carswell Gould
Laura Downton or Amy Grinstead
redfunnel@carswellgould.co.uk
Tel: 023 8023 8001
www.redfunnel.co.uk/media

SPOOKTACULAR FUN THIS HALF TERM

Don’t miss the spooktacular all-weather fun taking place at Blackgang Chine this October half term!  From Tuesday 28th – Thursday 30th October inclusive, Blackgang will be open late until 8pm with lots of fun activity taking place throughout the day and into the evening too for the whole family.

Come and meet our Witch and Wizzard in the ‘Halloween hub’ packed full of creepy crafts and games for you to enjoy.  Mix up your own potion in our much loved ‘potion lab’ and be entertained with magic from our wandering magician.

Back by popular demand …. enjoy our indoor dinosaur show, Dino Encounters, which combines theatre and excitement in this fun and interactive ‘live’ show which brings dinosaurs to life!   Meet Shadow & Sheila’s baby dino friends;  Jack & Jill, our walking Procomsognathus dinosaurs, George, our baby Brachiosaurus and the mischievous ‘Caulkie’ the Caulkicephalus – all with personalities of their own!   Plus you can meet their handlers and learn some fascinating facts about these amazing baby dinosaurs.  A ‘must see’ show for the whole family!

Then, as daylight falls ……… will you be brave enough to visit Restricted Area 5  as the dinosaurs begin to stir?    Who knows what will happen after dark?!

For an experience like no other, visit Blackgang Chine this October half term ….  the land full of imagination

From 29th September – 2nd November, Blackgang Chine is open from 10am – 4.30pm but for three nights during October half term (28th – 30th), the park will be open from 10am – 8pm.   Rides and attractions will also be open until late during these evenings but please note some areas of the park will be closed off from 5pm.   All tickets include ‘unlimited FREE returns for 7 days!    www.blackgangchine.com

For further information contact Michelle Russell : michelle@vectisventures.co.uk / 07436 283630 / 01983 732123

COMPTON BAY, ISLE OF WIGHT, NAMED AS TOP UK BEACH

Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight is one of the best beaches in the UK according to the travel experts at Rough Guides.

 

The leading publisher of travel guides and travel content, the Rough Guides editorial team have chosen Compton as the “much-loved haunt of the Isle of Wight’s surf (kite and board) dudes and the place “where the Tennyson Trail laces its way along the coastline”.

 

Also known as a great place for fossil hunting and paragliding, Compton offers a two-mile stretch of contrasting golden and dark sands, with rolling seas, tumbling multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, and the white chalk cliffs at Freshwater in the distance.

 

It is one 15 of UK’s beaches listed in “The UK’s Best Beaches” category, which includes Porthcurno in Cornwall, Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland, Rhossili Beach in Wales and Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire.

 

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight welcomed the news and said: “Island beaches are a big draw for visitors and we are therefore thrilled to be listed by this highly respected publisher of travel guides.

 

“Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking for excitement or a parent planning a short break, Compton, like so many of the Island’s beaches, provides plenty of inspiration.”

 

There are currently 17 award-winning beaches on the Isle of Wight, including the four Blue Flag beaches at Sandown, Ventnor, Yaverland and Colwell. 

 

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for economy and tourism at the Isle of Wight Council, said: “It is fantastic that an Island beach has been recognised as one of the UK’s best beaches by such an internationally renowned travel guide. We have so many wonderful beaches to choose from, visitors are spoilt for choice.”

 

Compton was recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for the quality of its waters in 2012 and has now been named as one of the UK’s top beaches by travel experts Rough Guides.   Read more:   http://www.roughguides.com/gallery/the-best-british-beaches/#/6

 

For all tourist information, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

 

-ENDS-

 

For further information, please contact:   Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

 

Notes to editors

 

Image of Compton Bay attached, please credit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

 

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

 

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

 

Rough Guides

 

For further information on Rough Guides please contact: Duncan Campbell, Press Officer, Tel: 020 7010 3591, E-mail: Duncan.campbell@uk.roughguides.com

 

Isle of Wight beaches and their ratings, according to the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual Good beach Guide Survey, are below. Those listed as ‘not maintained by council’ are owned/maintained by other organisations.

 

Totland Bay – Recommended

Colwell Bay – Recommended

Gurnard – Recommended

Cowes – Recommended

Ryde – Recommended

Seagrove – Recommended

St Helens – Recommended

Bembridge (not maintained by council) – Mandatory Whitecliff Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended Yaverland – Recommended Sandown – Recommended Shanklin – Guideline Ventnor – Recommended Compton Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended

 

 

 

CYCLING FESTIVAL TO GET UNDERWAY

The 2014 Isle of Wight Cycling Festival kicks off this coming weekend, with a huge variety of rides available for all ages.

The famous event, which takes place from Saturday 13 to 28 September and is the UK’s largest dedicated cycling festival, has rides from the simple to challenging and quirky to the unique including fossil rides, story rides, toddlers tea parties and muddy puddle rides.

There are also some great new additions to the programme including tweed rides, frocks on bikes and a chance to try a Haibike taster sessions, which is a type of electric bicycle.

It begins with the carbon cycle celebration which comprises of free family entertainment including cycle training, mountain bike stunt shows, live music and more, the event takes place on Saturday 13 September from 11am to 3pm at St. James Square, Newport.

The outdoor cycle cinema returns this year. It works by people pedalling to power the film, meaning if the cycling stops so does the film, which is Despicable Me 2. This unusual cinema experience will take place on Saturday 13 September at Seaclose Park in Newport from 7pm.

The tough Hills Killer takes place on Sunday 14 September where entrants can choose from 13, 26 or 52 mile courses. You can take on the challenge of an orienteering event against the clock as you pit your bike against the three, seven or fourteen hills.

The route this year will begin at either Broadlea Primary School in Lake (14 Hills), West Wight Sports Centre in Freshwater (Seven Hills) or Chale Green (Three Hills). All routes will finish at Broadlea Primary School.

Entrants can register online, or download an entry form, by visiting www.isleofwightcyclingfestival.co.uk. Free entry is available for those taking part in the three hills killer aged 18 and under. The Wightlink Wight Challenge on Saturday 20 September is a triathlon for teams of three.

The event includes a 19 mile cycle ride, two miles paddling in a canoe and an eight mile run. The challenge starts and finishes at Jersey Camp, Porchfield. Entry is £45 per person and a minimum sponsorship of £100 per person is required for Wessex Heartbeat, Sail 4 Cancer and The Rainbow Centre.

For more information, visit the website www.wightchallenge.co.uk.

British Heart Foundation Cycle the Wight on Sunday 21 September, is a long-distance ride around the Isle of Wight following the Round the Island cycle route. This challenge is a circular bike ride and there is something for everyone as there’s a choice of 50 miles or 70 miles courses.

You can enter online now at www.bhf.org.uk.

The Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre is playing host to the Wight Mountain Chevy Chase Challenge on Saturday 27 September.

The ‘Chevy Chase’ is a four-hour event taking place on the purpose built Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre at Cheverton Farm near Shorwell. The Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre was created for 2011’s Island Games and this exciting off-road enduro event will test riders’ skills and endurance.

The event is organised by Island charity, Challenge & Adventure which works with disadvantaged young people, using adventurous outdoor activities and tailored support to build their confidence, raise their self-esteem and to help them to re–engage at school and in the community. For more information visit www.challengeadventure.org.uk. All participants will receive a timing chip and a medal.

Councillor Shirley Smart is Executive member for economy and tourism and said: “The Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is a superb event that attracts all kinds of cyclists, ranging from the young and old and the casual cyclist to the very keen. Not only is it popular with residents, the Island also sees many people visit to take part. “The festival also supports Visit Isle of Wight’s ‘Bicycle Island’ campaign which aims to promote the use of bicycles on the Island.

“There are many events to choose from this year for all ages and abilities and I am sure everyone who takes part will have a great time.” For full details of all rides at this year’s Isle of Wight Cycling Festival, go to at www.isleofwightcyclingfestival.co.uk.

END

Notes to Editors:

Issued by: Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254 Mob: 07976 347636 Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk

Head on down to Hops Festival!

Celebrating another successful hops harvest, Ventnor Botanic Garden is delighted to announce Hops Festival will be taking place on Sunday 21st September.

This year, Hops Festival will be featuring a range of beers and real ales brewed on the Isle of Wight from local breweries Yates’, Goddards and Island Ales. Botanic Ale and Wight Squirrel, both made using the hops grown at Ventnor Botanic Garden shall be on offer amongst many others.

The family friendly Hops Festival also features live music throughout the day, local food and craft stalls, displays from White Falconry, a tug-of-war competition and much more. Local sporting teams, businesses and anyone else feeling strong enough are encouraged to enter a team into the tug-of-war competition, vying for a special trophy and celebratory pint as their reward. Teams of up to six people can be entered for free by contacting VBG via 855397.

Chris Kidd, Curator at Ventnor Botanic Garden commented, ‘Hops Festival has been an important, annual celebration for the Garden since we started growing hops here. We hope the sun will be shining this year and that many people will join us to celebrate our special harvest, as well as sample our very own Botanic Ale’.

Entry to the Hops Festival is free with a very special offer of six beer samples (25ml each) and a pint of choice available for just £5.

Hops Festival runs from 11am until 6pm on Sunday 21st September. All are welcome and onsite car parking is also free. For more information about Hops Festival please visit www.botanic.co.uk or contact Ventnor Botanic Garden via 01983 855397 or info@botanic.co.uk

-END

For images and other marketing enquiries, please contact Kirsten Morris via marketing@botanic.co.uk or 01983 855397.

Notes to the editors:

– Entry to Hops Festival is free for all. Standard Admission fees apply to other areas of Ventnor Botanic Garden (wristbands required).

– Hops Festival is predominantly outdoor event. It shall go ahead unless extreme weather conditions make it unsafe.

– Full line up of live music available on the day.

– Tug-of-war competition open to people of all ages with a maximum of six people per team. Teams must be entered in advance, there is no entry charge.

– Beer sample and pint offer only available to those aged 18 and above (proof required). Payment will be taken and tokens issued. Tokens must be surrendered and exchanged for samples and pint/bottle of beer or real ale.

Hop Growing at VBG

In 2009 Ventnor Botanic Garden resurrected the hop growing tradition and now have the only fully established productive hop yard on the Isle of Wight. The hops are carefully maintained, basking in the unique microclimate of the Ventnor Undercliff, perched on the cliff top to the south of the Garden.  Every year the hops are picked by hand then dried and packaged. Botanic Ale and more recently Wight Squirrel are locally brewed ales made using the hops grown at VBG.

About Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous Ventnor ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.

With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.

No longer under the management of the Isle of Wight County Council, John Curtis is leading the Community Interest Company that is saving the garden and transforming it into a venue for local residents and visitors to the Isle of Wight to enjoy all year round.

http://www.botanic.co.uk

 

 

Shades of Wight – Reasons to visit the Isle of Wight this autumn

Shades of Wight is the name of a new publication produced by Visit Isle of Wight.  Filled with 20 pages of some of the Island’s finest hotels, bed & breakfasts and self-catering accommodation, this brochure, features a range of inspirational themes which invite the reader to make a break and explore this Island for all seasons.

To order your copy visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Amongst the ideas featured in the booklet are:

Take a walk on the wild side

Go in search of fungi in ancient oak woodlands, retrace old railway routes and visit legendary sites, returning to great pub food and real ale by a cosy fireside.  The Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival Weekend, October 24-27, provides the perfect reason to get out and about and kick piles of autumn leaves.  There are around 90 guided walks ranging from short scenic strolls to full day rambles.http://www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/

Drive less, see more

Push your own bike on to a ferry for free or hire one (including electric assist bikes) from one of the many cycle hire/tour companies on the Island.  The Isle of Wight Cycling FestivalSeptember 13-28, features around 60 challenging and scenic bike rides through areas of outstanding natural beauty.http://www.sunseaandcycling.com/

The Isle of Wight Literary Festival

Among the well-known names appearing will be accomplished actors Simon Callow and Sheila Hancock – along with Brian Aldiss, the ‘elder statesman of Sci-Fi’, novelists Katie Fforde, Daisy Goodwin, Jonathan Meades and Alan Titchmarsh.  Tickets go on sale soon for the Isle of Wight Literary Festival in Cowes, which takes place from October 16 to 19. http://www.isleofwightliteraryfestival.org/

Reach for the Stars on a Stargazing weekend

The Isle of Wight is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best places in the UK to see inky black skies.  During the autumn and winter, Stargazing Weekends at the Isle of Wight Planetarium are held close to the New Moon – promising an enjoyable and worthwhile weekend among the stars.  Courses costs £45 per person and the dates available are September 26, October 24 and November 21. http://www.islandastronomy.co.uk/stargazingweekends.html

Electric Woods

Robin Hill’s electric woods presents the Festival of Light from October 4 to November 1 – a stunning spectacle of creatively themed lighting, colour, sound, and entertainment – will this year be inspired by the Hindu Festival of Diwali where light triumphs over darkness and good triumphs over evil. www.electricwoods.co.uk

Sweetcorn Fayre

With more sunshine hours than much of the UK, the Isle of Wight is the perfect place to grow the freshest, ripest and tastiest produce from tomatoes and apples to the sweetest of sweetcorn.  The annual Sweetcorn Fayre at Arreton Barns September 27/28 celebrates the local harvest and the event offers live music, craft stalls  and of course lots of sweetcorn-inspired dishes and a barbeque. http://www.arretonbarns.co.uk/arreton-sweetcorn-fayre

Unseen, Untold Discover the secret life of Queen Victoria’s Osborne

Hear secret tales of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Osborne, view the royal rooms and to go upstairs to the private apartments, and see parts of Osborne not normally on view to the public.  Tours on selected weekends in November and in January and February, are available 10am to 2.30pm, and advance booking is essential.  Prices are Adults £10.30, Concessions £9.30, Child £6.20, Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £26.80. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/osborne/

For further details, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672

E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk