The Countryside Section directly manages countryside sites owned by the authority and covers practical countryside issues across the Island. It provides advice, carries out monitoring and liaises with landowners and interest groups.
Since 2016 the majority of council-owned countryside sites have been managed on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council by the charity Gift to Nature.
Perhaps the most well-known countryside locations owned by the Isle of Wight Council are:
All of these are well used by visitors, and work related to visitor management is particularly important here. This includes interpretation and guided walks, signage, public events, clearing litter, improving paths and gates, providing and maintaining barbeque facilities and provision of dog bins.
The Countryside Section also works on many other smaller sites throughout the Island.
The Countryside Section has a history of working directly and indirectly on land in private ownership where public benefit can be obtained, usually by public access. Although this is now a smaller part of the work than it was in the past, there are still important responsibilities towards non-council bodies for continued advice, assistance and sometimes practical labour.
Lots of people on the Isle of Wight join with the rangers and countryside staff to get involved in practical conservation work through the very popular volunteer days, to find out more and how to get involved . The involvement of volunteers has enabled the Countryside Section to carry out many tasks that otherwise would not be possible. The work carried out is varied and includes practical habitat management, enhancing biodiversity and improving public access to the countryside.