Sandown Wetland & Community Orchard

We’ve been looking after this one since way back in 2003. This little site just off the busy cycletrack is a fantastic place to picnic, pond-dip or go scrumping.

This compact wetland site and orchard is a beautiful, tranquil spot but also a haven for wildlife. Gift to Nature has restored a community orchard on the site which you are welcome to visit and scrump in the autumn – we have included Isle of Wight fruit varieties including the Alverstone Apple. The orchard also provides a great nectar source for insects in the spring and food for other wildlife later in the year. The rest of the site is a mixture of wetland, woodland and a pond. There is a boardwalk across the wettest section of the site and a viewing/dipping platform by the pond.

Big Lottery Project, 2017-18

We want to enhance Sandown Community Orchard and Wetland Walk. As of 2016 the site is too wet to walk right through in winter. So we want to put in a boardwalk, a new gate, some new benches, a board telling the story of the site and improve the hedge. We also want to get more people to use it, so we are going to need to show people what it can offer, how they can use the free fruit. We might ask them to select a new name too!

We want to hold activities on the site to encourage local people to come along, meet their neighbours and meet people with similar interests. So we’ll be holding events  and walks on and around the site. We will encourage people to bring picnics and stay beyond the formal activities. The site is also on National Cycleway 23, So We will be encouraging people to cycle along too! it’s a great place to stop for a break.

The good news is that thanks into National Lottery players, we’ve now got £8000 to spend on bringing this beautiful site into tip-top condition. We will be working on this over this winter and the first half of 2018.

How to get there

On foot/By bike – The site is right on The Red Squirrel Trail (NCN 23) at Longwood Lane. You can walk into the site from the cycle track (through the carved arch) or from Longwood Lane.

By train– Sandown Station + 15 min walk.

By Car – Informal parking is possible on the verge opposite the site, please take care not to obstruct the road or any site entrances.

Access

In winter the wetland part of the site can become very wet and muddy, and at times is completely submerged. The orchard is on higher ground and can normally be accessed year-round. Paths through the site can be muddy, and there are steps on site.

What to look out for

Kingfishers are known to hunt along the waterways here, so look out for that emerald flash!

Animals you can spot here include herons, nesting swans, woodpeckers in the picnic area and bream, carp, eels, roach and rudd along with an amazing array of pond wildlife.

See the species list found at the All Along the Riverbank event on 1 May 2017.

Managing the site

The pond and waterways need clearing occasionally. The picnic area is mown to keep it easy to use. We are trying to keep the orchard in good order, but any help with pruning the trees will be welcomed!

Get Involved

There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on conservation volunteers to help with many tasks and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Find out more here.

You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up h