Under The Pier 2014
We launched Under The Pier in Ryde, Isle of Wight in 2014. Sponsored by the Natural Wight project and funded by Sovereign Housing and Down To The Coast, it was perfectly timed to coincide with the iconic Ryde Pier's bicentenary celebrations.
The busy Pier and the often over-looked beach to the west of it are home to masses of weird and wonderful marine wildlife – dozens of species, many of which have made their home over decades on the pier struts and many, like the sponge ‘gardens’ at the furthest reaches, which only come to light at extreme low tide. At Under the Pier, we follow the sea as it peels back, exploring what's revealed...layer by layer; from shells to sand and eel grass out to snakelock and daisy anemones, breadcrumb sponges and seasquirts, no end of natural wonders all yards from Ryde’s busiest entrance, streets and arcades.
The team from Arc were on hand to help visitors identify their finds or have a go at sand-sieving and plankton-netting. Sand-poolers recorded their species (and their impressions of the day!) on a blackboard made especially for us by artist Ian Whitmore and the resulting list of species were fed back to the Hampshire & Isle of Wight’s Shoresearch team and the Isle of Wight LRC.
Above our heads, a section of the pier itself was decorated with some fantastic artwork, sea creatures designed and painted by the Cool Time Club kids at Sovereign Housing's Slade Road estate in Oakfield again with the help of Ian Whitmore and Barnardos.
Under The Pier was heralded in perfect style from the top of the town and all the way down Union Street to the sea, thanks to by Ryde’s Town Crier. Visitors to the Pier came from all over the shop, from Southampton to Nepal! Sovereign Housing's Lordshill Wildlife Club joined us as a grand finale to our green space enhancement project at their home estate.
All in all, a fantastic day, and the start of many to come. From that day forward, whenever we look at Ryde Pier, we know that life under the pier is as colourful, varied and dynamic as it is on the top!
Thanks to the Natural Wight project, Down To the Coast, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sovereign Housing, Ryde Library and the Cool Time Kids! Thanks also to Wightlink for spreading the word and letting us decorate their Pier.
Under The Pier 2014 Poster designed and illustrated by the supremely talented Isle of Wight artist Hannah George - Makings.