Best bird watching trails in Isle of Wight, England

62 Reviews
Explore the most popular bird watching trails in Isle of Wight with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of bird watching trails in Isle of Wight, England
Top trails (13)
#1 - Mottistone Walking Tour
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 4.5 mi • Est. 2 h 12 m
This short walk will take you through some of the most beautiful and secretive countryside that the Isle of Wight has to offer. Expansive views of the south west coastline are afforded to you from Mottistone Common. These are contrasted later in the route with hedged ancient tracks and highways and woodland. You can get a real sense of the history of the landscape in this part of the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The story of people in this area takes us back to Neolithic times. Around 6000 years ago the Neolithic farmers of the Isle of Wight started to clear areas of woodland for cultivation on the central chalk ridge and the lower greensand hills. The Longstone is from this period, consisting of two megalithic entrance stones one now up right and one laying down. It is thought that these mark the entrance of a long barrow. Extensive clearance of woodland took place in the Bronze Age (4300 years ago) to allow for grazing and cultivation. There are many round barrows both on the greensand and also on the chalk ridge from this period. The loss of woodland cover led to soil erosion and a gradually reduction in soil fertility resulting in the creation of extensive heathland areas across the greensand hills and species rich areas of chalk grassland on the central ridge. Many of the local place names (Limerstone, Brighstone, Hulverstone) have their origins in the old Anglo Saxon 'Tun' meaning farmstead. However this is not the case for Mottistone which is derived from 'the stone of the speaker(s) or pleader(s)' probably referring the use of the Longstone by Anglo Saxon peoples as the 'Moot Stone'. To the north you can see the central chalk downland ridge which dissects the Isle of Wight from east to west. The parishes of Brighstone and Brook were created in medieval times being subdivisions of much older larger parishes. Around this time much of the area would have continued to be farmed as unenclosed grazing land. Tenants of Mottistone Manor had common grazing rights on the chalk downs and also Mottistone Common itself (hence the name). Between the spring-line villages (so called because of their siting just below natural springs below the chalk downs and greensand hills) and the coast there were areas of open-field cultivation. Common grazing was still taking place on Brook Down and Mottistone Common in 1793 but many other areas of open grazing land and open field had been enclosed by this date. Mottistone Manor was the home of the de Insulas, an important Norman family who later changed their name to Lisle and were one of the richest Island families. Through marriage it passed to the de Glamorgan family who retained ownership until the C14th when it was purchased by the Cheke family. It was rebuilt in 1567 by Thomas Cheke, although the southern wing may be more changed later. Whilst this would have been the home for the lord of the manor it also functioned as the farmstead at the centre of the management of the manorial land and tenants. In the C17th the Manor was bought by the Dillington family who also owned a number of other manors across the Isle of Wight (Knighton Gorges, Westover, Great Budbridge). It remained in this family until the early C19th when it was sold to John Leigh of North Court. The house reverted back to use primarily as a farmstead actually being known as Great Mottistone Farm until it was purchased by the Seely family who were living at Brook House. The Seelys became one of the largest and most influential landowning families in the Isle of Wight during the C19th. General Jack Seely decided to leave Brook House and make Mottistone Manor his main residence in 1926. It is said that his decision was heavily influenced by his friend Sir Edwin Lutyens the celebrated architect. In 1933 he was made Lord Mottistone. He set about restoring the building with the help his son John who was himself an architect of some renown. John Seely bequeathed Mottistone Manor and Estate to the National Trust in 1963. Show more
#2 - Shanklin and Ventnor
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 8.6 mi • Est. 3 h 28 m
Note: off line map is recommended to get oriented as several users have reported that this trail is not well marked and overgrown. Show more
#3 - Western Yar Circular Walk
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England
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Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 1 h 42 m
The route of the walk takes in woodland, farmland, a short section on a quiet road and then follows the route of the old railway line back to Yarmouth. It is fairly solid under foot although there are sections through pasture which may be wet after prolonged periods of rain. Other than a short distance of path rising through Saltern Wood the walk is fairly flat. There are 11 Kissing Gates on the route two of which (clsoe to Saltern Wood) are also Radar Key accessible. With gates and no stiles, the walk should be accessible to most people including those with off road wheelchairs. The eastern side of the walk follows the route of part of the former Newport to Freshwater Railway line (opened in 1889 and closed in 1953). The old railway line is also a Public Bridleway and cycleway. There are public conveniences in the town of Yarmouth. Southern Vectis operate a bus service between the county town of Newport and Yarmouth with Yarmouth Quay being the closest bus stop to the start of the walk. There are many pubs and cafes in the town of Yarmouth, there is also a Farm Shop and cafe at Kings Manor Farm (with toilets) and the Red Lion close to All Saints Church in Freshwater. There is a large long stay car park at the Green in Yarmouth close to the start of the walk.Show more
#4 - Ventor and Niton
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 10.5 mi • Est. 4 h 13 m
#5 - Yarmouth, Wellow & Bouldnor Circular Walk
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England
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Length: 8.5 mi • Est. 3 h 48 m
#6 - Upper Ventnor to Sir Richard’s Cove
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 4.1 mi • Est. 2 h 8 m
#7 - Needles Viewpoint to Yarmouth
Totland, Isle of Wight, England
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Length: 5.2 mi • Est. 2 h 28 m
#8 - Nunwell Trail: Sandown to Ryde
Sandown, Isle of Wight, England
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Length: 7.8 mi • Est. 3 h 37 m
A linear walk from Sandown rail station on the Isle of Wight. This well-known route, known as The Nunwell Trail, walks from coast to coast in the eastern part of the island, passing over a high chalk ridge. There is plenty of interest along the way, including a heritage steam rail line and a wetland nature reserve where you will have chance to see plenty of birds and maybe even a red squirrel or two. From the top of Brading Down the panoramic views are superb, encompassing the whole of the eastern half of the island. The return leg can be completed with a single 15-minute train journey. The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a fairly steep section to the top of Brading Down. Some sections of the downs can be very muddy and slippery after wet weather so good boots are a must. There are no stiles on route, but you will need to negotiate some kissing gates and steps. Whilst most of the paths are fenced away from livestock, you will need to cross four grass pastures. There are several sections of walking along the edge of roads that need particular care (including one stretch across a busy bridge) so this walk is not recommended for children. There is one rail crossing at an official but unsignalled crossing point, so look and listen carefully for trains before you proceed. There are no facilities along the way, but plenty of options in both Ryde and Sandown. Allow 4 hours. Show more
#9 - Ventnor, Shanklin and Luccombe
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 10.7 mi • Est. 4 h 18 m
#10 - Ventnor, Niton and Luccombe
Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Length: 14.2 mi • Est. 6 h 42 m
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