(14 October 2019) Having introduced its new environmentally-friendly ferry, Victoria of Wight, in August 2018, Wightlink is proud to be part of a greener era of travel between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. As a hybrid energy ship that runs partly on electricity, Victoria of Wight offers greener crossings every hour, using at least 17% less fuel than its sister ships. The Isle of Wight is also the seventh area in the UK to be awarded a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in June 2019.
The Isle of Wight is ideal for an eco-friendly escape, and with Wightlink visitors can choose to travel by foot, bicycle, or car. For those on foot, Wightlink’s FastCat service takes just 22 minutes and starts at £17.00 per person*, with passengers able to bring their bicycles on board at no extra cost. Alternatively, passengers can save money per person when they travel by car, as a carload of five people can cost as little as £53.50 this Autumn – or just £10.70 per person – for a return journey, making it especially affordable for families or groups of friends. For those wanting to bring their eco-friendly electric vehicles to the Island, there are 17 charging stations spread across the Isle of Wight, as well as Wightlink’s own EV charging points at Portsmouth car ferry terminal, Lymington, Fishbourne and Ryde Pier, all part of Wightlink’s Green Agenda.
Here are some of Wightlink’s top suggestions for an eco-friendly escape to the Isle of Wight:
Visit West Wight Alpaca Farm
Set up by husband-and-wife team Neil and Michelle Payne in 2010, West Wight Alpacas is home to around 60 alpacas, 13 llamas, and many other animals. Set across 23 acres of beautiful countryside in the village of Wellow, visitors can trek with the animals and admire the stunning views. The farm prides itself on biosecurity and high animal welfare standards along with sustainability, as they also breed alpacas and use their fleece, which is spun and made into garments such as jumpers and socks. These can be purchased in the on-site shop or online. Tickets are £7.50 for adults and £5.00 for children. Find out more at: www.westwightalpacas.co.uk.
Enjoy a vegan meal at one of the Island’s restaurants
The Isle of Wight is becoming known for good vegan food, with more and more vegan restaurants starting to open. There are a number of notable restaurants to try, including Woods Kitchen in Godshill, which has a separate vegan menu with dishes such as coconut squash curry and roasted red pepper & pesto parcels. Additionally, Tansy’s Pantry in Ventnor serves 100% plant-based food, including burgers, curries, pasta dishes and desserts. Django’s in Newport is a jazz café and vegan tapas restaurant, located in a beautiful courtyard – perfect for enjoying a meal in relaxed atmosphere. Visitors enjoying a delicious vegan meal as part of a trip to the Island is just one way of lowering their carbon footprint.
Sample the Island’s local produce
The Island prides itself on local produce, with many restaurants serving food grown on the Isle of Wight. Ventnor Botanic Gardens is open all year round and boasts over 30,000 rare and sub-tropical plants and trees. The Mushroom Chamber is definitely worth visiting, with home-grown mushrooms available to try in the café or to buy and take home. Admission prices are £9.50 for adults and £6.00 for children (aged 6 – 16 years).
The Garlic Farm, located in Newchurch, has plenty to explore and taste in the Arreton Valley. Visitors can take one of the farm walks or a tractor trailer tour through the fields, and there’s also a well-stocked farm shop full of local delights. These include garlic mayonnaise and garlic vodka, and the restaurant also serves garlic-inspired meals. The farm is free to enter and is open seven days a week.
The Farm Shop & No.8 Café in Bembridge stocks a range of fruit, vegetables and local produce including milk and cream from Briddlesford Farm, garlic from the Garlic Farm, Honey from Liz the Beekeeper, tomatoes from the Isle of Wight Tomato Stall, and coffee from Jaspers Coffee, to name just a few. The farm shop can also put together fruit and vegetable boxes for delivery or collection.
Responsible tree climbing
For something different, Goodleaf, an environmentally-focused business, offers two-hour tree climbing experiences. Recreational tree climbing does not harm trees, and instead creates an opportunity to educate climbers on the importance of trees. Goodleaf also removes all equipment from trees when they are not in use, lays wood chip around the canopy to mitigate for any soil compaction on the tree’s roots and serves fair trade refreshments where possible. After an introduction and health and safety session, participants are shown tree climbing techniques before embarking to the tree tops where a birds-eye view of Appley Park and the Solent can be admired. A two-hour session costs £29 per person for up to five climbers. Find out more at: www.goodleaf.co.uk/2hourtreeclimb.
There are also plenty of other activities to choose from on a short break to the Isle of Wight, including scenic walks, cycling routes, watersports, and visits to historic landmarks such as Osborne House. More information and booking details can be found here.
*based on a foot passenger day return, from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.