Under The Pier 2016


Arc and Vectis Housing’s Wild About Wight teamed up for this year’s end of summer sea safari with help from funding by Down to the Coast, a Heritage Lottery funded programme which focusses on celebrating and conserving East Wight.

We came face to face with a record 75 marine species through the drizzle and under the waves this year!  As well as exploring the phenomenal range of curious sea life that lives under Ryde’s now 202 year old pier, you could sandcast yourself a starfish or sea anemone; enter the experimental sea squirt experience (and get squirted); listen to sandpools with a hydrophone, build a shell gallery or make giant beach art on the sea walls.  There were marine safari experts, artists and inventors from Arc, Ecclestone George, Artecology and Bournemouth University all on hand to help visitors explore.

The star attraction of this year’s event was a green sea urchin, Psammechinus miliaris – not something you see every day and a first for the event. There were also many species of crabs, amphipods, anemones, ascidians and the bright globular alien life forms on and in the older pier struts… the sponge gardens.

Ian Boyd from Arc and Artecology explains:

“Built infrastructure… be that marine or terrestrial… can support a range of species; marine life doesn’t just colonise the pools at the base of the pier, it makes its home on the pier itself on its struts and columns. The older, broken pier struts have become superb habitat and you’ll find a collection of sponges including the beautiful vase-shaped Sycon ciliatum with vibrant velvet swimming crabs, American clams and the like tucked away”.

The Under The Pier sea creature bunting created year by year by hundreds of children stretched even further along the Pier, so Isle of Wight and visiting children were able to come along and see their artwork displayed above them as they searched for the real thing! 

Thanks to our partners at Down To The Coast, Wild About Wight and Vectis Housing Association and to Wightlink for permissions to decorate the Pier.  

Thanks also to Ryde Town Council for their very kind grant which enabled us to commission photographer Julian Winslow and web designer Chester George!


Under The Pier 2016 This year's poster by Hannah George - Makings was inspired by last year's rain and finds: the brittle starfish and the Masked Crab with its improbably long nose!