Recreation, Leisure and Public Spaces - Parks

Council Managed Parks

Information about the principal parks in the care of the Isle of Wight Council:

Cowes

Princes Green - Prince's Green was presented to Cowes as a public open space by George Stephenson in 1863 to mark the occasion of the wedding of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It still has shelters and a drinking fountain dating from Victorian times.

Historically the area featured an ancient Weeping Ash tree known as the ‘Umbrella Tree’ said to have been planted in 1790 which was supported on a metal frame; unfortunately this succumbed to decay and was removed in 2014.

As would be expected the green is a large open grassed area with elements of summer bedding displays, it is a popular vantage point across The Solent during Cowes Week.

East Cowes

East Cowes Esplanade – A series of open grassed areas with elements of summer bedding, it includes a children’s play area, café, tennis courts and public toilets.

The Esplanade offers great views across The Solent to watch shipping and boating activity.

Lake

Lake Cliff Gardens - The gardens are situated on the cliff-top above the Sandown Bay and have the ‘Cliff Path’ coastal footpath running through them.

The park is mainly laid out to grass and pathways with selected shrub, rose and herbaceous beds and a number of mature trees. The gardens also host public toilets

Newport

Church Litten Park – Is a traditional town park providing a green oasis close to the main shopping area of the county town.

It was originally a cemetery dating back to 1582, and since the 1950s has been designated as an open space. There are two focal points of interest in the park, the original cemetery entrance and the Valentine Grey memorial to an early 19th Century boy chimney sweep.

The park has a number of mature trees, a rose garden, pathways, children’s play area and plentiful seating.

Medina Arboretum - As the name suggests this is a heavily wooded park covering a large area of grassland with various pathways and adjoins Seaclose Park to the west and Medina College/Centre to the east.

The park has abundant mature trees, shrubs and two large ponds. Along with the adjoining Seaclose Park the site has a long term association as host to The Isle of Wight Festival (music) which is held annually in June. The site also houses Bohemia Woods a SSSI area near the River Medina within its curtilage.

Seaclose Park - The site was developed in the 1960’s and 70’s and has extensive areas of open grass on which sports pitches are laid out. It also has various hard court areas for sporting use such as netball, tennis and football and a skateboard park.

The site also has an extensive play area and adult fitness equipment with the grassed areas on the eastern side. There are also public toilets.

The site is regularly used for IWFA football matches, plus additional football and (junior) rugby tournaments.

The site has a long term association as host to The Isle of Wight Festival (music) which is held annually in June.

The site also houses IWC Seaclose Offices and Newport Bowling Club within its curtilage.

Ryde

Appley Park - A Greenflag Award Park adjoining an award-winning beach.

Appley Park was originally part of the grounds of St John’s House. The landscaping of the park was believed to have been carried out by Humphrey Repton in 1798 for Edward Simeon.  One of the many interesting features in the park is Appley Tower, which was built in 1875 for Sir William Hutt.  The park also contains an area of ancient coastal woodland consisting of oak and pine trees dating back to 1875.  Great views are given out over Spithead and The Solent to Portsmouth harbour, where on a clear day you get great view of the Spinnaker Tower.

Appley is a nationally awarded park having been a previous recipient of the Greenflag Award.   The park provides a range of activities and interests including a sand playground, woodland walks, café, beach huts, a large car-park and public toilets and is a very popular location to watch the cruise ships coming and going from Southampton.

Ryde Seafront: Includes - Western Gardens, The Rose Garden, LA Bowl & Eastern Gardens Ashley Gardens, The Canoe Lake, Birdcage Walk & Royal George Memorial Gardens. The areas that make up the seafront include grassed areas, annual summer bedding, rose borders, shrub borders and trees.

Sandown

Battery Gardens – A former military battery dating back to 1863, it was converted to pleasure gardens in 1930 after the cessation of military use.         The gardens have fantastic views out over the English Channel and are a lovely landscaped environment where you can relax in peaceful and quiet surroundings. There is also a children’s play area adjacent.

Ferncliff Gardens – A small park mainly laid out to grassed areas and planting. The gardens link Beachfield Road to the Esplanade and form the eastern end of the coastal cliff walk.

Sandham Grounds – Now devolved to Sandown Town Council for day to day management and maintenance. A traditional seafront park containing a wide range of activities; putting green, crazy golf, bowls, skate park and play equipment for toddlers and teenagers and public toilets.

Pier Gardens – Adjacent to the Victorian Pier, the gardens feature a colourful bedding plant display throughout the summer and autumn, there are also public toilets. The gardens date back to the opening of the pier in the 1880’s, they were originally comprised of shrubs and small trees converting to typical seaside bedding displays later in the 20th century

Seaview

Puckpool Park – A former military battery and originally opened as a park in 1929.

Located between Ryde and Seaview, Puckpool is a park rich in history. On the coastal side are the mid 19th century Palmerston military battlements, which are still in good condition.

There is a lot for families do at the park, with crazy golf, pitch and put course and tennis courts. There are also two cafes to choose from: A large cafe located in the park and a cafe located on the coastal path near Appley Beach.

The park is easily accessed by car and foot, with entrances on the coastal path, public toilets and a large car park.

Shanklin

Rylstone Gardens - Originally the private gardens to Rylstone House, the site has been a public park since about 1914. Rylstone Gardens is situated on the south side of Shanklin Chine and bordered by coastal cliff to the east. There are extensive sea views across the English Channel.

The gardens feature a number of mature trees, shrubs and bedding displays. There is a café, public toilets and a Crazy Golf course, a bandstand that hosts concerts throughout the summer and a memorial to Elvis Presley.

The gardens include a chalet (Listed Grade II) built in about 1880, constructed of stone rubble with a wooden veranda. The inspiration for this building was probably the Swiss Chalet at Osborne House.

Tower Cottage Gardens – The cottage from which the gardens take their name was built in the 1820’s, the gardens were bought by the local council in 1939 and used as tea gardens up until WW2. The cottage itself was demolished after being badly bomb damaged during the war. Today it is a traditional park featuring mature trees and shrubs in which you can relax and unwind in the quiet and peaceful surroundings, look out for the red squirrels. There are also public toilets.

Ventnor

The Cascades - Now devolved to Ventnor Town Council for day to day management and maintenance. A landscaped garden with a Mediterranean theme laid out in 1903.  The gardens are an excellent example of annual and permanent planting working together in harmony and feature a spectacular waterfall.

Ventnor Park – The park dates back to circa 1880 when it was given to the town by the former Steephill Castle Estate and subsequently managed by Ventnor Urban District Council.

The site has upper and lower tiers and the upper tier forms a ridge which tends to protect the lower park from adverse weather, the southern side of the upper tier is a (fenced) cliff edge. The upper tier is mainly one large open grassed area with a shelter a weather station and an enclosed adult exercise park. The lower gardens however have a number of large areas of open grass with pathways bounded by wooded and shrubbed areas and there are a considerable number of mature and high amenity value trees throughout the park. There is also an ornamental stream that runs the full length of the park which supports fish and waterfowl. The park hosts public toilets and a café with a pitch & putt, there is also a bandstand on site which holds events throughout the summer.

Ventnor Park is very popular and has won a number of prestigious awards including South & South East England In Bloom Gold Medal awards in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and in 2014 & 2016 it was also the S&SEEIB ‘Park of the Year’. In 2015 it won a BALI award where it was placed top 5 nationally.