Newton Estuary

General Description

Since the start of its involvement in Newtown in 1933, the National Trust has acquired a wonderful mixture of unspoilt tidal creeks, saltmarsh and mudflat, shingle spits, woods and ancient meadows that form a tapestry of land rich in wildlife and history.

The largest piece of the jigsaw came in 1965 when following the threat of a proposed nuclear power station an interested group of locals consisting of yachtsmen and naturalists acquired the main part of the estuary, including the sea bed, and gifted it to the National Trust to preserve for the nation. Today, the Newtown Estuary is the most unspoilt area on the South Coast and because of the wonderful variety of wildlife that inhabits the area it has been designated as a National Nature Reserve as well as part of the Solent ‘Special Protection Area’ and RAMSAR site for its birds. It is also part of the Solent ‘Special Area of Conservation’ for it marine biological interest. It is also part of the Isle of Wight ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and Heritage Coast for the quality of the landscape and parts have been designated as ‘Scheduled Ancient Monument’ because of the remains of the layout of the mediaeval town.

In the summer, many local and visiting yachtsmen, naturalists and walkers come to enjoy Newtown and the sheltered waters it provides. In the autumn and winter months, wildfowl and waders arrive from their breeding grounds in Iceland and the Sub Arctic to take up winter residence as the feeeding grounds in the estuary are rich.

Although the National Trust owns and protects most of the estuary it does not own all the land around its many creeks. Some of these areas are vulnerable to exploitation from unsympathetic landowners and so an acquistion policy forms the basis of our strategy to continue completing the jigsaw of safeguarding the area. Newtown is a dynamic place and because of its undeveloped nature it will cope with coastal change.

The project was funded from a Leonardo da Vinci grant.