Friends and Anemones – Places, People and Wildlife at Under The Pier

1 October 2018
Claire Hector

Under The Pier is a slightly potty Pier-pooling event that we run under Ryde Pier at the last low tide of the summer each year. It began as a way to encourage local communities explore the public realm and natural world on their doorstep and now in its 5th year, it’s become a permanent, glorious, wet and wonderful, exhilarating and totally homegrown addition to the Island’s calendar for us and for many who join us.  At Under The Pier, a unique place, all sorts of its people and its whole parade of wildlife mix in together – all it needs is for our ecologists to make the introductions.

The sun shone for us this year and over 500 people made their way down through Ryde’s streets, nets and buckets in hand to the Pier to join in. Top discoveries were the common starfish, a hat-trick of Scorpion Spider crabs (thanks to Ryan from Ryde) and a sea urchin. But it was definitely the fish that played a starring role – some wonderful spots were broad-nosed pipefishes, a 2-spot goby, corkwing wrasse, a baby plaice and some sea sticklebacks.  Hundreds of people made it to the very end of the Pier too this year to see the sponge gardens, where the Pier’s 200+ year old self comes into its own… strange and other-worldly pillars of multi-coloured globules of many different sponges including the… goosebump sponge!

Nigel George, from organisers Arc and Artecology said, ‘Under The Pier is one of a calendar of free nature and art-related events we run to help people to explore doorstep biodiversity and to celebrate and reinvigorate locality. It grows every year and it now has its own website, (