Things to see and do at Compton Bay and Downs

Compton Beach

Spend a day at one of the Isle of Wight’s favourite spots. From beach to open download, there’s plenty of space to explore, search for fossils, spot local wildlife, surf and ride your horse.

A magnificent surfing beach

Compton Bay is the Isle of Wight's prime location for surfing and watersports, but its sandy beach and fine views over to Tennyson Down and The Needles make it ideal for just a day on the beach.

Butterfly spotting trail

Follow our self-guided trail and walk along part of the ridge running through the middle of the Isle of Wight and you will visit one of the best sites for butterflies in the UK. Butterflying does not get any better than this.

Our ABC of the Downs trail

Enjoy splendid views on this leg-stretching 8-mile walk over the ridge of the downs. Then follow in the steps of the dinosaurs back along the coast.
Follow the steps of the dinosaurs

Dinosaur coast on the Isle of Wight

120 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth and you can look for their fossilised foot casts preserved in the rocks on the beach near Hanover Point.
The best place to go looking for fossils on ‘Dinosaur Island’ is on the beach at Compton Bay. Not only is it the richest source of dinosaur remains in Europe, but other interesting things can be found here too.

Wildflowers on the downs

You can stride out across the open expanse of Compton Downs and admire a profusion of downland flowers.

Play on the beach

Compton Bay has a firm sandy beach, and the tide doesn’t go out too far so it's good for swimming. It isn’t too crowded, and there are excellent views towards the Needles and Dorset beyond – perfect.

Go surfing

Compton Bay is probably the best place on the Isle of Wight for surfing of all kinds, because there can be a considerable swell. The view is pretty special too.

Walk your dog

Dogs love the breezy walk over the grassy downs at Compton, or racing through the tide along the beach (beach restrictions apply mid-May to September).
Try our other dog-friendly places on the Isle of Wight

Ride your horse

The bridle paths over Afton, Compton and Brook downs are great for horses, being firm under foot and with wide vistas. There are numerous car parks close by for horse boxes.

Take to two wheels

The off-road Tennyson Trail crosses our land as it passes over Afton Down, Compton Down, Brook Down and Mottistone Down. It's a wonderful chalk track along the ridge tops, but be warned that it isn't flat.
This is one of the classics for Isle of Wight cycling. But we can also offer more gentle quiet country lanes and routes to take you from ferry terminal to our places. So who needs that car?
Cycling on the Isle of Wight

Spot butterflies

The quarry slopes on Brook Down and Compton Coombe are the best places to spot butterflies. The chalk soils are especially rich in blue butterflies in summer. We can recommend other good places to spot butterflies on our land across the island too...
Spot yet more butterflies

Enjoy a picnic

Compton Bay beach is a favourite for many picnickers. But the cliff top overlooking the beach and high spots on the downs tend to be quieter. You're spoilt for choice on the island - try these suggestions...
Where to picnic on the Isle of Wight