A magnificent Catalpa at Shide

It’s well worth taking a trip to Shide at the moment to take a look at a superb specimen of the “Indian Bean Tree” Catalpa bignoniodes.

This specimen is planted by the side of the main road, and can be accessed by parking at  Shide  Trees and walking back along the road about 500 yards.


Flowers of Catalpa bignoniodes showing purple spots on the corolla.(photo:Dave Trevan)

This fine specimen is one of the largest I have seen on the island.Catalpa is regarded as one of the most beautiful of flowering trees.


Catalpa bignoniodes at Shide, showing habit

(photo:Dave Trevan) (more…)

Looking at the Countryside Friday 15th July 2016 Hurstake to Dodnor

It made a pleasant change to have dry fairly warm weather for the sixteen members and one very well behaved dog, Louie,who met at the Medina Park Picnic Site for a walk beside the Medina estuary to Dodnor and back along the cycle -path.There was much wildlife from start to finish as well as a little local history.

First stop was the Hurstake foot bridge to admire a stone statue of a contemplative sitting lady, inscribed with the artists initials SFE and dated 2007.Nearby is a pentagram inscribed with geological destinations:Nile Delta;Gurnard;Tuvalu (a group of atolls in the South Pacific);Texcel (an island off the coast of the Netherlands) and the Sunderbans (a National Park in Bangladesh).

Stone statue of the contemplative lady

Stone statue of the contemplative lady (photo:Hazel Trevan)

The group then proceeded towards Ship and Launch House and Newport Rowing Club.

Today no evidence exists of the 19th century Hurstake Shipyard where many naval frigates were built and launched into the Medina  Estuary.As well as the shipyard there was a public house, The Ship and Launch.When the public house ceased trading the building was converted into a private dwelling which still retains the name Ship and Launch House


Looking towards Dodnor (photo:Dave Trevan)

Newport Rowing Club has been at Hurstake since 1863. (more…)

Looking at the Countryside – Newtown National Nature Reserve, 17 June

12 Members attended the above meeting with Helen Parry (National Trust Warden) and Hilary Higgins (National Trust Volunteer). This was in celebration of the 21st year of the Reserve being formed into a National Nature Reserve.

Looking at the Countryside-Yarmouth Walk 8th May 2016

Yarmouth Walk

27 members meet at the Boatyard  near Saltern Wood Quay for a walk led by Helen Danby and Michele Van Buren. First of all Helen took us round her 8 acre wood, Saltern Wood East which was looking particularly beautiful with a grand display of Bluebells and Wood Anemones

Bluebells” (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) at Salterns Wood (Photo:Dave Trevan)

There were many Blackcaps singing and the odd Pheasant was heard calling. Blackbird, Buzzard,, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, and Woodpigeon were also seen or heard.


“Tree Mallow”Lavatera arborea Norton Spit

Photo:Dave Trevan

Our walk took us down Gasworks Lane and noted Jay and Green Woodpecker. As we passed the extensive area of reeds we could hear the explosive call of the Cetti’s warbler. (more…)

Looking at the Countryside Walk at Seaview on Wednesday 20th January 2016.

14 people met at the west end of Bluett Avenue for a circular walk taking in the Old Toll Road, Hersey Nature Reserve, Oakhill Road, the footpath alongside Westbrook House, passed the Wishing Well, up Farm Shute (Nettlestone Hill) and down  the bridleway at Fairy Hill to return to our cars.


Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Photo: Dave Trevan

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Photo: Dave Trevan


Looking at the Countryside Meeting 2nd December 2015 Carisbrooke


Twelve people met at the Eight Bells car park, Carisbrooke, where Bill Shepard told us that the house adjoining the car park had once been a bakery, known as Staple House, and showed us an invoice from 1823, when a gallon of dough made a 9lb loaf.

We set off down the High Street, turning right into the waterworks, to find the path around the pond – once the Mill Pond for the old Priory Mill – was closed due to much litter being left.  Passing the ford into Spring Lane, Bill showed us a Golden Rain Tree, (Koelreuteria paniculata)rare for the Island, sheltered by conifers, which could account for its good size. (more…)


23 members met on a glorious autumn morning near Gatcombe church, for a circular walk south to Sheat, and then back across to New Barn, and the road through Gatcombe village.   We began at the church, enjoying the medieval and Pre-Raphaelite glass, the “crusader” effigy, some of the carvings on the exterior, as well as more modern features such as the attractive range of kneelers, and the tomb to Charles Seely who died in Gaza in the First World War. (more…)

Looking at the Countryside September 8th 2015

Western Yar walk, Wednesday 12th August.

Five  members met for the walk along the Yar estuary, on a warm sunny day.   I stopped on the swing bridge to point out the cream house across the estuary, once the home of the manager of the Gas Works, now a lovely house owned by Helen Danby & her husband.  (more…)

Looking at the Countryside report Porchfield Wednesday 15 July

Looking at the Countryside report Porchfield Wednesday 15 July

19 members met at Porchfield on a mild morning with high cloud for a walk to Elmsworth Farm and through Burnt Wood to Slinks Bay.  For the majority of members this was new terrain. The leader had asked three local experts to attend and talk about the area. (more…)