Welcome addition to Ventnor gateway

We love the tropical improvements to the entrance to Ventnor at Smuggler’s Haven.

Palm Trees:

If you’ve travelled from Shanklin to Ventnor in the last week, you might’ve noticed a new addition on the roadside by Smuggler’s Haven car park.

Standing proudly beside the ‘Welcome to Ventnor’ signage are two beautiful palm trees.

Gateway improvements
They are the first stage from an initiative by the Ventnor Town Council to improve the gateways to Ventnor. The project will see improvements to one gateway per year (there are four in total).

The palm trees, although only recently planted (due to previously unsuitable weather conditions), were funded from last year’s allocation, so we can expect another Ventnor gateway to see improvements later this year.

Half of the cost for the improvements was covered by the Ventnor Town Council and the other half came from a grant from the Isle of Wight council’s Economic Improvement Fund.

The palm trees were purchased from the Ventnor Botanic Garden.

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Friday, 10th May, 2013 2:41pm


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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Mike Vallender

    10.May.2013 4:30pm

    This looks a good improvement and is welcomed in that way, but is another step in making the islands verges and other green spaces look like the outback of warmer climates. I believe it would have been better to plant some our more native trees such as Apple, Field maple, Hawthorn, Blackthorn etc, which would have a long life and the additional benefits of blossom, fruit, wildlife interest and possible habitation at various times, and gain more enjoyment from all of these things by the community it serves.

  2. Mike Vallender

    11.May.2013 8:28am

    Further to my initial comment, I would just like to ask a question/ The island is known as an AONB site, which presumably means using native species and habitats for the benefits of all. How does the use of plants such as these Trachycarpus fortuneii follow that designation ?

    The natural wildlife corridor of the hedgerows in the area are best used as the example for what plants should be planted in the area.

    • I suppose I have presumed these ‘exotic’ specimens are not in such numbers as to adversely affect native vegetation on the Island, whcih I agree is vital to attract and maintain associated wildlife, as well as giving us the benefit of fruits, blossom and aesthetic experience generally.

      Are you saying that the threat is bigger than we realise? There are probably a lot of other examples that are commonly in people’s gardens, that take up space from native species and do little for us ecologically, eg. eucalyptus. I’m glad you are highlighting this issue, as many of us are unthinking on this score as we wander around a garden centre and choose.

  3. Mike Vallender

    11.May.2013 9:43am

    Hi tryme

    I am not saying their is a threat and I agree with your other comment about plants that are used in peoples gardens.

    The point I make is that AONB gives us the status of using native plants for the benefit of our wildlife, countryside areas etc, and as I said previously that is benefit for the community, our native wildlife, habitats, seasonal changes and so on. In recent years we have been encouraged to provide plants, feed etc that is beneficial for those species of creatures who’s number are found to be diminishing. ( Many thanks to groups such as RSPB, Big Butterfly Count etc for the work that they do in raising these areas of interest )

    The farming community has in recent years lowered the use of chemicals to encourage natural propagation and the return of our natural wildlife, and that also has to be encouraged further.

    All I am saying is that Ventnor’s recent reputation through places such as the Botanic Gardens is to say that our growing conditions are sub tropical. While this might be so, that means we that do not educate and learn about our native species and how this can best be done for the benefit of ourselves, our island and its wildlife.

    It is good that we can enjoy diversification of plants in our gardens, but our individual gardens are also an important part of our wildlife corridors, and therefore we should give consideration to how we can best achieve this.

    • I agree with all you say! I suppose I am thinking that the photo at the top of this page looks very striking and pretty to me. Given that Ventnor apparently has ony 4 gateways, are you saying that even these specimens at those places, need to be banned in order to make your wider points? That though small in number they are a ‘bad influence’? I think you probably are. Fair point!

  4. Mike Vallender

    11.May.2013 10:04am

    I accept it looks striking and pretty, It also looks like like a half cut verge, that no in is sure how best to deal with, when you consider the balance between chippings and grass :-)

    This verge / parking area is on the edge of countryside, and this one probably is best treated as part of the countryside. As for the others they might be in more communal areas where this type of planting might be more advantageous and suitable Surely each should be considered as to what best meets the need of the location. :-)

    • Your typing went a bit awry in the second line, so I can’t address that point. But as regards assessing each site, does the above photo look like part of a wildlife corridor? If it’s as isolated as it looks, maybe it’s appropriate planting?

  5. Mike Vallender

    11.May.2013 10:34am

    Thanks for pointing out any typing error.

    If this is the area by The Landslip, which I believe it is, there is a distinct break between the landslip gardens and cafe, and the hedging between Luccombe Farm / Dunnose Magna etc, and this is best suited to a natural planting of native species, and allows continuation through the seasons.

    If it was nearer the Bonchurch / Ventnor end I would say the plants used more suitable as beginning to blend an mix with the planting scheme of the Ventnor riviera.

    • That’s interesting and enlightening, thanks.

      (Btw, we all make typing errors, and mostly one can figure it out anyway. It’s just that in this case I couldn’t, and was sorry not to be able to respond to your point and didn’t want you to think I’d ignored it. I wasn’t being sarcastic.)

  6. Mike Vallender

    11.May.2013 11:51am

    No need to say that at the end but thanks for letting me know.

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