Projects: East Medina Greenway
Our professional experience gives us a usefully wide-angled approach to the challenges that our clients bring to us. The combining of ecology and public engagement is an excellent example. The Isle of Wight Council and IW Estuaries Project invited us to design visual and written interpretation for a new cycleway route running along the east side of the Medina estuary between Newport and East Cowes. The public information had to meet precise mitigation requirements, proposed by Natural England, relating to recreational disturbance to the wintering birds of the Medina Special Protection Area.
Arc worked with a local artist to create striking landscape interpretations of the estuary, seen from the new cycle path, picking out key species that would be identifiable to visitors. We then worked in text to explain, and celebrate, the conservation designations and to talk compellingly about their importance and vulnerability.
But as well as the panels designed and installed at viewpoints over the estuary, we commissioned public sculptures from a second Island artist, a set of oak pillars grouped at the start of the cycleway, and a carved oak bench at one of the intermediary viewpoints. The inspiration for both pieces is Hydrobia, the tiny spire shell that feeds so much of the estuary’s winter bird life.
Our work has discharged ecological planning conditions, delivered better public information, installed new public landmarks and contributed something distinctive and beautiful to a significant new recreation and tourism resource for the Island.