The Isle of Wight is a haven for wildlife and there are many beautiful locations to walk and see everything from birds of prey to red squirrels. Here you will find a sections of walks and places to visit along with some of the wildlife you might want to look out for.
Borthwood Copse is a small woodland inland from Sandown and it can be reached easily on foot from Alverstone or Newchurch. (map link) The woodland is best known its red squirrels and woodpeckers and has a number of pleasant trails with scattered benches and the occasional clearing. Woodpeckers are more often heard than seen but by looking out for their neatly drilled holes and waiting nearby you will more than likely see one. Red Squirrels are also most likely to be seen if you sit still and look out for their movement as the run along a branch.
Nearby cottages: Beaulieu Cottage, Paperbarn Cottage, Squire Thatchers, One Mead, Two Mead and Meadow End Wing
The Tennyson Downs are most famous for the stunning views over the West coast of the Isle of Wight. The high ground means you can see Yarmouth and Freshwater Bay on the North and South of the Isle of Wight. The Downs have patches of gauze which are a haven for small birds and the lower slopes often have a rich variety of butterflies. The Tennyson Downs can be easily reached by parking at Freshwater Bay and following the path marked ‘Tennyson Downs’.
Nearby cottages: Moonfleet Cottage and West Isle of Wight Cottages
The cliffs on the North side of Sandown and Shanklin Bay jut out into the sea and make a beautiful backdrop to the sandy beaches below. The cliffs have a number of interesting things to see including a World War II gun mounting and a monument. This is also a wonderful place to see a rich array of bird life the most dramatic of which are the birds of prey. The Buzzard is the most commonly seen bird of prey at Culvar Cliffs and it likes to rest on high perches or fence posts. To reach Culvar Cliffs on foot you can follow the coastal path from either Sandown or Bembridge. Culvar Cliffs can be reached by car from Sandown beach front road which you follow north to a roundabout, taking the second exit to the right, and then the first right signposted for Culvar Cliffs.
Nearby cottages: East Isle of Wight Cottages
Bonchurch Nature Reserve Pond
The little village at Bonchurch is well known for a miniture nature reserve which is home to a number of ducks and other pond and lake dwelling birds. There is an informative information point where you get a list of birds and animals to look out for. Bonchurch is a short walk North East of Ventnor and can be reached by the coastal path from Ventnor Beach. Alternatively, you can reach it by car by following signs to a turn off along the Ventnor to Shanklin road.
Nearby cottages: Bonchurch & Ventnor Cottages
Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve
The nature reserve at Alverstone on the East of the Isle of Wight is a beautiful river side nature reserve which can be followed via the footpath and cycle track which runs along its length. There are a number of attraction and wildlife to enjoy in Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve and the most obvious is the Longhorn Cattle which graze in some of the fields. More typical wildlife includes heron, snipe and sandpiper. It is also possible to spot Kingfisher hunting from their overhanging perches.
The RSPB reserve of Brading Marsh runs along the estuary between Brading and St Helens or Bembridge. On the south side of the reserve there is a footpath with several benches to stop and enjoy the wildlife. (Brading Marshes Website). The marshes are best known for the large wetland birds including geese, ducks and egret but there are also a number of finches, wagtails, snipe and the occasional buzzard.
Nearby cottages: The Poplars St Helens, Harbours Edge, and Seaview Cottages
Useful wildlife links:
RSPB Isle of Wight – www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/b/bradingmarshes/
Wight Nature Fund – www.wightnaturefund.org.uk
Gift To Nature Isle of Wight – www.gifttonature.org.uk
Isle of Wight Nature Reserves – www.iwight.com/living_here/planning/countryside/Nature_Reserves/