Things to see and do at Borthwood Copse

Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young at nest hole

Borthwood Copse changes with the seasons and is a lovely place to walk at any time of year. Why not explore this wonderful site yourself? It’s a great place to explore the great outdoors.

The wood

Borthwood Copse is an ancient oak and hazel woodland, once part of a much larger medieval hunting forest in which the landscape would have been more open like parts of the New Forest. Over the centuries, other trees such as Scots pine and sweet chestnut have been planted.
Oak trees support a vast range of wildlife, but here they are particularly important for deadwood wildlife such as beetles, hoverflies and fungi. Birds and bats also benefit from the cavities created by decaying wood.

See a red squirrel

Why not try our red squirrel walk? This 1¼-mile walk takes you through the beautiful ancient woodland of Borthwood Copse, an excellent place to spot red squirrels throughout the year. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells. Red squirrels are most active and visible in autumn.
Two walkers sat on a fallen tree in Borthwood Copse, Isle of Wight

Look out for red squirrels in Borthwood Copse walk

This short atmospheric walk in a secluded part of the Island takes you through woods that are home to an Isle of Wight speciality: the red squirrel.



The ancient woodland of Borthwood Copse is home to a number of birds typical of woodlands. If you keep your eyes open and listen out, you may see or hear the high pitched calls of goldcrests and the drumming and chipping of woodpeckers.
Listen out for blackcaps
A blackcap
Listen out for blackcaps

Dog walking

Borthwood Copse isn't very large, but it has a maze of paths and lots of interest for you and your dog. No walk is ever the same.
Please be a responsible dog owner by picking up anything your four legged friend may leave behind. There is a dog bin at the entrance to the woods by the Parish Council car park.

Butterfly spotting

The copse is home to many woodland butterfly species. Our woodland management creates a variety of habitats which are of benefit to these butterflies. You might see them searching for nectar in the sunny glades, where we have made clearings.
The white admiral caterpillars feed on honeysuckle, which clambers up into the trees. Look out for speckled woods in the dappled light on the edge of the rides where its markings make it well camouflaged. 
Purple hairsteaks are the hardest to spot as they dance around in the upper reaches of the oak trees.
The rare purple hairstreak butterfly
A male Purple Hairstreak butterfly
The rare purple hairstreak butterfly

Borthwood wildflowers

Borthwood Copse comes alive with flowers before the leaves of the trees take up the light. Wood anemones and bluebells are especially good here. If you visit in late April and May, you'll find a carpet of blue beneath the ancient oak trees.
Bluebells come into flower in early May in Borthwood Copse
A mass of bluebells in Borthwood Copse
Bluebells come into flower in early May in Borthwood Copse

If you go down to the woods today

It's not just teddy bears that like a picnic in the woods. Borthwood has a number of open glades with fallen logs, waiting to be enjoyed. Try to spot a squirrel while you eat.
We've other places you might like, too.

Don't miss

  • look out for carpets of bluebells under the oaks in May
  • listen for the chirring of wood crickets on the edge of sunny glades
  • red squirrels are most active and visible in the autumn