A very special watercourse
- Still following original course
- 29 Protected Species
- A super-highway for bats and birds
- Archaeological remains
- Protects Newport from flooding
- A green lung for Newport
Much of the land to the north Gunville Stream is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). National priority species found within the Gunville catchment include Great Crested Net, Common toad, Grass snake and Water vole. Locally important species include Common frog, Golden-ringed dragonfly, Broad-bodied chaser, Willow warbler. Tributaries link the water course to Parkhurst Forest SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The landscape has been influenced by the historic forest of Parkhurst and the water course has changed little since the 18th and 19th centuries when there were substantial military encampments on the surrounding fields. There was also a leper hospital, venereal disease hospital and even possibly a mill.
The water course and surrounding landscape is under a number of threats now:
– encroaching scrub us leading to habitat fragmentation
– rubbish and garden waste is being dumped
– predation from domestic animals
– agricultural and forestry run-off affects the quality of the water
– urban run-off also affects water quality
– there is a large amount of development planned
Gunville Stream offers a number of opportunities too! It could help with flood alleviation in Newport and in proposed developments. With sympathetic management there could be an improved space for nature. This could include:
– Restoration of more favourable balance of closed and open channel
– Restoration of bankside grassland for water voles
– Creation of wetlands and expansion of newt ponds
– Removal of in-channel obstructions for fish and eel passage
There could also be an improved space for people with better pedestrian access and opportunities for community action, citizen science and archaeological investigations.
Working with local landowners and developers Newport Rivers Group would like to create a linear nature reserve between Gunville Road bridge and Towngate Pond. Since 2012 we have been investigating the stream and surveying the wildlife. We are pleased that Isle of Wight Council support this proposal in their draft Island strategy.
Newport Rivers Group are interested to know the following from the local community:
– Would you support a proposal for a local nature reserve?
– Have you be recording nature in the area, and if so what?
– Do you have any stories to tell us about the area?
– Would you like to be involved in nature surveying / oral history recording / historical and archaeological investigations?
If you are interested in any of this please get in contact and tell us about yourself.