Walking trail

See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk

Walking trail

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.

A delightful wander amongst ancient trees

It is a particularly beautiful place to be when the trees take on their autumn colours in October and early November. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells.

A group of walkers pass below the beeches in Borthwood Copse


Map route for see a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk


See A Red Squirrel Elevation Profile


Parish Council car park, off Alverstone Rd on Winford to Alverstone road, grid ref: SZ566843


Enter the wood and start to descend. The path soon reaches a cathedral-like clearing with fallen logs offering good places to sit.

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A wide space between spreading beech trees forming an sunshine-dappled resting place in Borthwood Copse


Bear left immediately on entering the clearing and take a rising path, the left-most of two paths leaving the clearing at the same point. Pass through a holly thicket on the way to the top where it begins to open out near the edge of the wood. Turn right to descend again just before some house gardens. Bear left at a junction, following the line of the boundary of the gardens and soon the path broadens out in a clearing by an oak tree. Follow this track onwards and downwards, bearing right at a junction to meet an even wider crossing track 25yds (25m) further on.

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A mass of bluebells cover the ground in Borthwood Copse


Turn right and follow this track almost to the edge of the wood, ignoring all side paths. Over its length, the path rises gently through a gully, then falls, and rises again.

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Secretive inhabitants of Borthwood: the red squirrel and the dormouse


Eventually a field is seen through the trees to the left. Just before a right bend that leads to a stile 90yds (80 m) away and out of the wood, turn right along a westerly path which follows the line of the edge of the wood. It rises gently, emerging shortly after another holly thicket close to a fence into a field on the left. Turn right here and follow the path downwards, past yet more holly, to a crossing path.

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Strong sunshine outlines the bare beech trees in Borthwood Copse


Turn right for 90yds (80m) then take a left fork close to a splendid beech tree. After a further 65yds (60m) emerge back into the large clearing by fallen logs. Bear left along the edge of the clearing and return to the car park along the outgoing path.

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Hunting scene from Livre de Chasse


Parish Council car park, off Alverstone Rd on Winford to Alverstone road, grid ref: SZ566843

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See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk


Download a GPX file of the trail here for your smartphone or GPS.
This is a:
  • Circular walk
  • Gates=0
  • Kissing gates=0
  • Stiles=0
  • Steps=0
  • Bridges=0
The total ascent is 100ft (30m). There are no gates or stiles but paths can be uneven and sometimes muddy. Some of the undergrowth is fairly thick but the paths are well used. They are not wide enough for easy use of a wheel chair. There are no signposts so it is easy to miss a path; however the wood is only 60 acres (24ha) in size so it is hard to get lost.
Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you. There is a dog bin in the car park.
See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk

Contact us

See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk

How to get here

Borthwood Copse, Alverstone Road, Winford, Isle of Wight, PO36 0LD
By road

Take Alverstone Road from Apse Heath mini-roundabout on A3056 Newport/Sandown road. The Parish Council car park is just after Forest Rd, before a 'Queen’s Bower' sign.

By foot

The way-marked Yar River Trail and Nunwell Trail pass within a mile of Borthwood Copse at Alverstone (follow the road north-east from route step 3).

By ferry

Fishbourne-Portsmouth (Wightlink, 0871 376 1000) 9 miles (14.1km); East Cowes-Southampton (Red Funnel, 0844 844 9988) 10 miles (16km).

By bus

Southern Vectis (tel: 01983 827000) service 8 from Newport to Ryde via Sandown, hourly: alight at 'Winford Hairpin Bend'.

By bicycle

'Round the Island' Sustrans Regional Route 67 passes the car park and National Cycle Route 23 (Reading to Sandown) passes Alverstone, 1 mile (1.6km) north east of step 3.

See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs are very welcome here, and there is a dog bin at the car park