All eyes were on the Appley Park and Beach, Ryde for Appley Day. Appley Day was created and organised by the Friends of Appley group, and assisted by Ryde Business Association and supported with funding from Ryde Town Council. It was a day to celebrate and promote the Appley Park area.
Organisers explained “Ryde is well known for the beach, but the gorgeous green space of the park is not so well known. Encouraging people to walk up from the Esplanade area and appreciate the woodland and tree trees and think about how they might enjoy the space in the future was the aim of the day. It was great to see families picnicking together, and children playing and exploring”.
A number of businesses and organisations contributed to the day, from Wight Wildcards – Ultimate Frisbee, to animal charities, The Wight Squirrel Project and Save Our Hedgehogs, as well as wildlife recording with the Isle of Wight Natural History Society. Teepee Island set up a chill out area, where children could relax and read books, and were joined by story tellers Steph Brittain and Peta Rainford with a poetry session from David Thornton. Gift to Nature helped make nature crowns and Aspire provided giant bubbles. There were guided walks and some took to the trees for a better view of the park with the help of Goodleaf Tree Climbing, and volunteers from Big Ryde Clean Up helped keep the area tidy with a litter pick.
A big attraction throughout the day was the opening of Appley Tower, with close to 300 people being able to look around the historic building. Councillor Michael Lilley was highlighting the issues with the tower, and led guided tours, giving information on the history and collecting thoughts from the public on what the future of the tower may be. Michael Lilley said “People love Appley and the Tower and everyone on the tour expressed to me their wish to see it regularly opened and kept in community ownership. Ideas included hire for children’s parties, art exhibitions, a top of Tower viewing gallery and much more”.