The Isle of Wight with its 500 miles of footpaths, breathtaking landscapes, beaches, and forests is a must-see for nature enthusiasts keen on an eco-friendly adventure. Those who are in search of a laid back trek to appreciate and explore the island, the coastal trails are just up your alley. For the more serious hikers, once you have taken in the beauty of the coastal scenery, there are always the open fields, woodlands, forests and chalk downs to explore. If you are up for it, it is possible to explore every corner of the island on foot and always a tearoom or pub nearby for a quick bite. There are plenty of eco-friendly lodges on the island and a host of outdoor activities to enrich your trip to the Isle of Wight.
Eco-Friendly activities along the coast:
The coastal route around the island covers a total of 64 miles and can be done at a leisurely pace over four to five days, covering various trails. Shorter trails are, of course also an option. The pathways vary from sandy beaches to exhilarating cliff-tops and rocky outlets where the diversity of the plant and wildlife will take your breath away. Looking for some adventure along the way? There are plenty of stops you can make to go kayaking, paddle boarding, or rock-climbing which are popular among visitors to the island.
The island is teeming with birdlife including gulls, oystercatchers, terns, and the tree-loving, long-eared owl, woodcocks, nightjars, and lesser spotted woodpecker so taking along a pair of binoculars is always handy. The Tennyson downs have a rich diversity of flowering plant species. Walk through the fields and see them blooming with cowslips, poppies, bell heather, and various orchid species including the lilac-colored pyramidal orchid – the County flower of the Isle of Wight. In addition to the usual trails, you can also join West Wight Alpacas and enjoy walking an alpaca along the scenic cliffs that overlook the coastline.
Cycling and horse riding are among the most popular outdoor activities across the island. Paragliding is a wonderful experience for travelers with an adventurous spirit and a superb way of getting an aerial view of the island. There are also numerous diving and snorkeling spots around the island as well as other watersports.
A walk through the Bouldnor Forest Nature Reserve is not to be missed. You are sure to catch a glimpse of its iconic resident, the red squirrel, and if you stick around until the sun goes down, you will be pleasantly surprised by the owls, bats, mice, and numerous other species who appear. Hiking in the forest, one can select a short trail or a more grueling route, both of which are well worth the effort. Exploring the wildlife habitats on the island can be done independently or through guided walks. The Wildlife Trust’s Sandown Meadows Nature Reserve leads private walks through the wetland habitats to view the wildlife. An intriguing look at marine fauna and flora on the island is offered to anyone interested where travelers can take part in learning about the marine species along the rocky shores. Guides will take travelers to Arreton Downs where they can walk among the butterflies who share the meadows with a rich diversity of invertebrates.
If you choose to change your plans at any time you are spoilt for choice with the lovely ‘green’ accommodation options on the island. Cozy, eco-friendly beach cabins are just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. The lovely tree houses and green yurts are kitted out for a comfortable stay, as are the numerous cabins, tents, and pods on the island.
The untouched, natural beauty one encounters on the Isle of Wight is awe-inspiring. The island, with its diverse fauna and flora, spectacular scenery and range of activities, has become a much-loved destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts who step onto its shores, curious to experience it for themselves.