A CAMPAIGN to 'keep Newtown for the birds' has been backed by senior Isle of Wight councillors.

As reported, former volunteers at Newtown National Nature Reserve have warned its future is under threat if visitor numbers continue to grow.

They have criticised the National Trust, which owns the reserve, for encouraging too many people, and written to Isle of Wight Council members seeking their support.

Council chair Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox responded: "Newtown is a wildlife sanctuary, not a leisure centre. It's a fragile place and simply cannot tolerate these sort of numbers.

"I am happy to do what I can to ensure this precious reserve is protected."

Deputy council leader Cllr Stuart Hutchinson said: "I absolutely agree the tranquility of the reserve is precious and indeed essential for the wildlife.

"You may be assured of my support in your efforts to preserve this quiet place."

The campaigners have warned growing visitor numbers — including kayakers and paddleboarders who skirt the creek — will damage the reserve and drive away wildlife, including rare birds that nest there.