Under the Pier – join us as our marine wildlife event celebrates its 5th year… under Ryde Pier

30 August 2018
Claire Hector

 Whether you are just visiting the Isle of Wight or whether you’re there all year round, there is one most unusual of late summer events that should be on everyone’s annual calendar. Under The Pier is a magic, informal introduction to the curious and amazing marine life that makes its home under one of the Island’s icons, Ryde Pier.

Run each year by our volunteer team of ecologists and community artists at Isle of Wight environmental organisations Arc and Artecology and colleagues, Under the Pier is a mad, linear rockpooling adventure set up to celebrate the place, character and undiscovered natural world at Ryde Pier, just yards from one of the Island’s busiest gateways and Ryde’s streets and arcades.

As Ian Boyd, Island ecologist here at Arc and Artecology explains, ‘The marine wildlife of the low-tide Ryde pier is found nowhere else on the Island and brings biologists to visit throughout the year. But you don’t have to be a specialist to find opportunities for inspiration and learning there. Just bring a net and bucket and once Under the Pier gets you started, you can return again and again at low tide. We’re particularly interested here in exploring how the natural world colonises the built environment and there are spectacular sponge gardens and anemone fields that have sprung up under this 200 year old feat of engineering! There are very few piers in the UK that have the advantage of Ryde’s long sandflats, making exploration possible.  Combine that with the sounds, light and new landscape that appears when the tide rolls back under the pier, and it all makes for a memorable experience. We started Under The Pier to help make ecology accessible to all, and to show that the public realm can be a source for imagination and re-engagement with our own taken-for-granted environment. This will be our 5th Under the Pier and almost every year it’s pouring! Nevertheless, people come back year after year and talk about the thrill of discovery and how this familiar sight becomes somewhere entirely new.’

Species finds are recorded by local project iWatchWildlife and this year, Bird Aware will also be helping us spot and ID Solent birdlife.

Under the Pier 2018 takes place this year on Sunday 9th September from 3.30pm – 6pm… just look for us on the western side of Ryde Pier. Bring a net and a bucket and definitely wear waterproofs and wellies!

For more information on Under The Pier and what you might find there, visit www.underthepier.space

And if you do miss it, look out for more of our Rockpool events next year and more marine exploration with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Another piece of artwork for our Under The Pier event by artist Hannah George