A brief guide to the West Wight
We believe that the quieter West Wight is uniquely beautiful; ideal for those who love the natural world, peace and quiet; who enjoy walking, birdwatching, visiting gardens and historic places; who enjoy maritime life, past and present, from ferries to canoes, tall ships and cutting-edge sailing. Over half the Isle of Wight is recognised as being an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', with almost 30 miles of shore designated as 'Heritage Coast' - an accolade given only to coastlines of the greatest beauty and interest in England and Wales.
Beyond our stunning beaches is an unparalleled system of footpaths and cycleways traversing flower-rich downs with tremendous views, marshes and estuaries harbouring diverse birdlife, ancient forests which are home to red squirrels and dormice, and a wide variety of farmland which reflects soil types which seem to encompass the geology of most of the British Isles. Our label 'Garden Isle' tells of our well deserved reputation and reminds us how mild our climate is - thus perfect for off-season visits.
Everywhere there is evidence of a fascinating past, from the dinosaur fossil strata of the southern coast, through iron age mounds, remains of Roman villas, medieval castles, a 'lost' medieval town, Elizabethan manors, historic villages, the elegance of Nash's architecture and the exuberance of Osborne House, designed by Prince Albert and much loved by Queen Victoria. That the twentieth century is less well represented here than in most of the rest of England seems probable, and in many ways a positive gain for us, - although rocket science had its moments here whilst Black Knight was developed and tested at the Needles Battery in the 1950s and 60s.
Footpaths, bridle ways and cycle tracks traverse the Island from north to south and east to west. Our roads are quieter, yet we are well served with buses. We are privileged in that excellent local produce is available to prepare at home and that there is a terrific range of restaurants and pubs.
The Island is served by frequent car ferries, hovercraft and high-speed jet foils and catamarans. There are rail and coach links to Lymington, West and East Cowes, Fishbourne and Ryde.
And of course, we enjoy welcoming visitors and sharing our very special life-style. So, do come to stay, and join those who return and return......