Get Quirky This Spring

The Isle of Wight has its own quirky local events that have become part of our local heritage. Here are three of our favourite Spring events that we love to attend each year, and you might enjoy during your stay.

Seeing Stars

The Isle of Wight is in the process of getting Dark Skies Status and many areas of the island already have sufficiently dark skies to see a fantastic array in the night sky. The south west coast of the island is one of the darkest areas and Brighstone Holiday Camp, a vintage time capsule on the cliffs at Brighstone, holds an annual Star Party held every spring for astronomers from near and far. This year it’s from Thursday March 15th to Monday March 19th 2018.

Enjoy some of the darkest skies in the south of England at this fabulous location, where you can bring a camper, hire a hut or pitch a tent, if you’re really hardy. With nearby foodie pubs to welcome you before an evening of star gazing, and beautiful unspoilt beaches to roam in the daytime, this is one of the most spectacular areas of the island. Plus you have the whole of the Milky Way to see at night, and beyond.

Brighstone Holiday Camp has recently been sold, but fear not the Star Party is going ahead at this stunning location.

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The Isle of Wight’s Grand National

Revived in 2005, The Isle of Wight Grand National and Scurry takes place at West Ashey Farm, Ashey Road, Ryde PO33 on Sunday March 25th. This is an opportunity for everyone to put on their finery and have a flutter if they so wish.

Riders from across the island and even a few from the mainland will bring their horses to complete in this event, which is the island’s premier horsey event of the year. Top prizes are highly contested by the winners of the previous years.

The Scurry boasts the most upmarket ‘park and ride’ imaginable, with parking at Havenstreet’s IW Steam Railway and a beautiful vintage steam train to Ashey – to arrive by iron horse. Pack yourself a picnic basket and don’t forget the bubbly!

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Plowing A Furrow

A really traditional competition to which the farming community flock is the Memorial Ploughing Match that takes place on Sunday April 8th this year (2018) at New Wolverton Farm in Shorwell between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

The first Memorial Ploughing Match took place in 2009 at Mottistone Manor Farm to remember four ploughmen who were members of the Isle of Wight Traction Engine Club who sadly all passed away in 2008. It has since become a firm favourite on the countryside calendar with around 100 ploughmen and women competing in the various classes.

Heavy horses pull the ploughs along the fields as well as beautifully restored vintage tractors, although more contemporary tractors are used as well. There are refreshments on offer and this makes for a lovely day out for the family and a rare opportunity to learn about the Isle of Wight's agricultural past...and present.

Open to all, entry is free and any money collected on the day goes to island charities, namely the Isle of Wight’s Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

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Jo Macaulay

4 March 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles

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