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Isle of Wight Guide – Niton, Chale, Brighstone

On the southwest of the Isle of Wight, you will find a broad expanse of rolling downland stretching from Niton to Mottistone, with the coast nearly always in view it is very popular with both walker and cyclists alike, which is not really all that surprising as most of the area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Inland is dotted with quaint villages like Shorwell, Yafford, Brook, and Brighstone, whilst the coast offers many secluded bays and chines, Chiltern and Grange Chine can easily be accessed from paths off the Military Road and at high tide offer perfect quiet bathing spots away from the crowds.

compton-bay

The whole area is a walkers dream whether you take the long coastal route or one of the many circular routes, along the way you will discover many villages have at their heart a traditional local pub such as the Three Bishops in Brighstone or the Crown Inn in Shorwell, ideal for refreshments on a walk or bike ride. For history lovers, this is such a rich and unspoiled area with churches dating from the time of the Normans to medieval manor houses, one such walk takes you from Brighstone Forest further inland to the ancient manor of Calbourne, were you will find the picturesque Winkle Street, a highly photogenic row of old stone and thatched cottages ideally set in fields and woods opposite the River Caul. Check out the Isle of Wight walking & cycling maps below

Down on the coast, you will not feel crowded, with miles of Blue Flag Award-winning beaches to explore, long sandy bays like Compton as well as many secluded chines means you will always find that perfect spot whether for building sandcastles with the kids, a spot of surfing or just relaxing in the sun. As part of the Jurassic Coast, it is no wonder it is also popular with fossil hunters, at Brook Chine you can walk amongst the stumps of long fossilized remains of an ancient pine forest known as the ‘Pine Raft’ or marvel at Dinosaur footprints left over 65 million years ago.

Amongst the many notable places of interest on this part of the Isle of Wight is Blackgang Chine, now a lot shorter than the once forbidding 400m ravine of the nineteenth century. A scenic garden was added around 1842 by Alexander Dabell to please the growing number of Victorian tourists visiting the Island, and it soon became the oldest amusements park in the UK. Today it remains one of the Island top holiday destinations extremely popular with families.

As you travel from Blackgang further up the coast you will arrive at St Catherine’s with its Victorian twin-towered lighthouse, known by locals as the “Cow and Calf”, now automatic and unmanned the former keepers give wonderful educational tours enjoyed by children and adults alike. Set further back on the Islands second highest point is the medieval St Catherine’s Oratory built-in 1314 by a local landowner as penance to the church after wine destined for the church appropriated from a stricken French cargo ship found its way to his personal cellar.

Further along the coast in Brighstone you will find a Clifton favourite, Isle of Wight Pearl because here on this jewel of the Solent, it’s not diamonds but pearls that are a girl’s best friend. Now in their 30th Year, this historic Brighstone venue is not only home to an unmissable collection of pearl jewellery but a butterfly meadow, and a café on the cliff-top with views over the English Channel.

For the botanically minded, Mottistone Manor Gardens are well worth a visit, thou the manor house is only open to viewing once a year on the August Bank Holiday Monday the grounds and splendid garden are open from March to October. The church at Mottistone dates from the twelfth-century and it’s worth noting that the chancel roof is made from planks from the wreck barque Cedrene wrecked off Brighstone. Nearby on the hill, you will find the “Longstone” the remains of a Neolithic long barrow, This stone was used for centuries as a meeting place for village elders to have their “Moot” and is believed to be the origin of the name Mottistone.

Check out these handy cycling & walking route guides from www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Brighstone Bike Route 5  – This 10-mile route is ideal for novices and beginners and takes you through some stunning countryside, and remember to look out for the “Longstone”

Brighstone Bike Route 6 – This 12 Mile Route takes you on a gentle tour through Chale.

Cycling on the Isle of Wight

Stomping about in Shorwell –  6 miles, Start and finish: Russel Road, Shorwell. For the more adventurous who don’t mind a bit of a challenge

Brightstone Down to Calbourne – 8miles. Start and finish at Strawberry Lane, Mottistone.

Compton Beach to Compton Down – 6miles. Start and finish at Brook View Point Car Park, Military Road.

Looking for even more to do? then have a look at this great handy itinerary Download here