Escape the crowds and discover the Island’s tucked-away treasures this summer.
To help visitors and residents spread out this summer, we have put together a list of hidden gems on the Island. Perfect for meeting friends and family with all the fresh air and space you need.
Gurnard Beach is a charming pebble beach with gorgeous views north over the Solent. Watch the ships go by, relax with a picnic or soak up the sunshine on Gurnard Green. There is even a children’s play area to keep the little ones entertained.
The beach is narrow, so if the tide is low, walk west behind the sailing club. Here you’ll find a whole stretch of sandy, rocky beach to explore and go rock pooling. Dogs are allowed along this beach too!
Fort Victoria Country Park has some of the Island’s most remarkable views of the western Solent. The shore is one of the best vantage points for watching passing boats and shipping. The scenic beach is the ideal place to find fossil turtle shell and crocodile scales.
With toilets, free car parking and café, Fort Victoria can be busy, but there’s plenty of space to spread out. Go at sunset to get the best view and choose the day you visit carefully as the exposed headland gets very windy. The sandy beach is open for dogs to use all year round but check the tide because high tides will cover most of it.
Easily accessible on foot from Yarmouth, or by road.
Golden Hill Country Park
Golden Hill Country Park has paths going through woodlands, open grasslands and alongside Golden Hill Fort. You can view Golden Hill Fort, but it is not open to the public. The fort was built on a good vantage point, with superb views looking in all directions, particularly south towards Freshwater Bay.
The willow maze is a new feature for 2021 that is popular with families. There is information around the site for those who want to find out more about the history of the military establishment.
Free car parking is available off the A3054 or walk up on a footpath from Freshwater village.
Pan Mill Meadows
Pan Mill Meadows is a peaceful oasis alongside the river Medina, just a few steps from the heart of Newport. This nature reserve is a riot of wetland flowers and insects, and even has sheep grazing from time to time.
The busy Newport-Sandown cycleway runs through it, resulting in a hard surface throughout. There are also unsurfaced paths winding round the alder trees to explore, and a short stretch of the old railway route to discover.
Get here by walking or cycling south from Matalan, under the road bridge, or north from Shide. Just follow the signs for National Cycle Network Route 23.
Bonchurch Landslip and the Devil’s Chimney
Bonchurch Landslip is an area of woods and jumbled paths between Luccombe and Bonchurch. It features some remarkable landforms, cliffs, boulders and steep steps. It is one of the most extraordinary landscapes on the Island which has been delighting and intriguing visitors for over 200 years.
The coastal path runs through the reserve. Walkers can climb up the inner cliff through the bizarre climbs of The Devil’s Chimney or The Chink. Although the site is not big it is very steep, so you should dress sensibly and be ready for a lot of steps and uneven paths.
There is a car park and bus stop at the top of the site, easily reached from the nearby A3055. Smugglers Haven tea rooms provide refreshments, toilets and a spectacular view of the English Channel.
Update 24 August
Footpath V65a though Bonchurch landslip is currently closed because of active land movement. To avoid this closed section the alterative route will be path V65d/V66, Bonchurch Shute, Leeson Road and path V65c (Devils Chimney).
Brading Down is a large area of open downland with a few interesting quarries to explore and beautiful views over Sandown Bay. Cattle graze on the down seasonally, keeping the flowery sward full of wildlife.
The site can be accessed from various points along Brading Down Road and Lower Adgestone Road. A large series of car parks is on the north side. There is also an enjoyable walk up from either Brading Roman Villa on the south, or Brading village on the north.
Culver Down is a big open downland area with stunning views over the east side of the Island. It’s beautiful delicate chalk downland, butterflies and orchids, as well as seasonal cattle and sheep, make this is a lovely spot to get away from it all.
Many car parks are scattered across the top of the down. There is also a great walk up along the coastal path from either Yaverland on the south, or Whitecliff Bay on the north.
Pig Leg Lane
The secret oasis that Ryde locals enjoy is Pig Leg Lane, a meadow and woodland on the southern edge of the town. It’s got some interesting history too! It was once the home of a gallant seaman who was one of the first to ever be awarded the Victoria Cross. With lots of little paths and clearings, this is a lovely spot for orchids in the spring and summer. Being near the little stream of Monktonmead, it can also get a bit muddy.
Best reached on foot, south of Quarry Lane, or over the railway crossing at Rosemary Lane.
If we’ve missed any of your favourite secluded spaces post a photo of them on social media using #FindYourSpace so we can share your ideas too.