Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk

Walking trail

Butterfly spotting does not get any better than this; walking along the chalk ridge that runs through the middle of the Isle of Wight you will find an abundance of flora and insect life, pure escapism into the real world.

A great day out in the countryside

This is a great site for Adonis blue and chalkhill blue butterflies, with large populations of small blue, dark-green fritillary and Glanville fritillary. Brown argus and grayling can also be spotted. In late summer you can often catch a glimpse of the clouded yellow.


Compton Bay And Downs Paradise On Isle Of Wight Map


Paradise on Isle Of Wight Elevation Profile


Compton Chine/Afton Down car park, grid ref: SZ367854, what3words: ///copiers.outdone.simulates.


Start in Afton Down car park (National Trust) by the main road. This is usually great for blues.


Cross the road from the car park, turn right on the road verge until you see a diagonal rising chalky path on the right hand side, signed bridleway F34. Take this path until you reach a track at the top.

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A view to the sea over the trimmed gorse on Compton Down


Turn right (eastwards) along the track through a golf course and one gate, eventually descending steeply. Dark-green fritillary abounds amongst the cut gorse areas in July.

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Galloway cattle on Compton Downs, Isle of Wight


20yds (20m) after a “No entry for vehicles” sign and just after a track joining from right, turn sharp left and round up into Brook Down quarry to explore the quarry slopes and gorse glades.

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Brook Down's large disused chalk quarry is a great place to see butterflies, like the grizzled skipper shown


Head back to cross the main track and bear left just before the “No entry for vehicles” sign. Follow this grassy track upwards. Look out for Adonis blues. At the crest of the rise by cattle pens, bear to the right of two gateposts marking the track leading down the hill.

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Adonis blue and Chalkhill blue butterflies


Follow one of the lower cattle tracks/teracettes parallel to the track. This is open downland with no well defined footpaths. Aim just to the right of a line of bushes at the base of the hill in the distance, or the main road beyond. Follow this low level and narrow path as far as Compton Coombe, always keeping on the downs side of the fence line. Clouded yellows are often seen here and on the upper slopes of the camp-site field on the other side of the fence.

Chalkhill blue and small blue butterflies


Blue butterflies are usually best found in and around Compton Coombe, above Compton Farm.

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The steep-sided grassy coombe at Compton a one of the best places to see butterflies


You need to climb up the coombe and leave at the top right, about three quarters of the hill height. Take a level path around the head of the combe, through gorse to a five bar gate in the fence into an un-grazed section (the path drops downhill slightly before the gate). Continue straight on along the now well-defined grassy track, which descends eventually to the car park. This area is best for graylings, green hairstreaks and small blues.

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Dark green fritillary butterfly, with wings open and closed


During the Glanville fritillary season (June to early August), take a detour to Compton Chine via the road verge or the coast path from the car park. Go down the wooden steps. Enjoy! It’s a great bathing beach.

A pair of Glanville fritillary butterflies share a meal


Compton Chine/Afton Down car park, grid ref: SZ367854, what3words: ///copiers.outdone.simulates.

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Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk


This is a circular walk with:
  • Gates=2
  • Kissing gates=0
  • Stiles=0
  • Steps=0
  • Bridges=0
There are some steep slopes and tracks are not clearly defined on side of the down. The exposed downs can be windy, and the chalk is slippy in wet conditions.

Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you.


Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk

Contact us

Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk

How to get here

Compton Chine/Afton Down car park, Compton Bay, Isle of Wight. The car park is halfway between postcodes PO40 9TY and PO30 4HF, what3words: ///copiers.outdone.simulates.
By road

Compton Chine/Afton Down car park is in an old quarry site, east of Freshwater Bay and west of Shippards Chine on the A3055 Military Road.

By foot

The Isle of Wight coastal path passes Compton Chine (route step 9) and is a olny a few yards from the start point car park..

By ferry
  • Lymington - Yarmouth (Wightlink, 0871 376 1000): 6 miles (9.5km)
  • Fishbourne - Portsmouth (Wightlink, 0871 376 1000): 16 miles (26km)
  • East Cowes - Southampton (Red Funnel, 0844 844 9988): 17 miles (27km)
By bus

Southern Vectis (01983 827000) No.12 mostly two-hourly service from Newport to Totland passes the car park. Alight at Compton Chine.

By bicycle

'Round the Island' Sustrans Regional route 67 follows the A3055 Military Road past the start car park.

Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk

Facilities and access

  • Three car parks for access to the coast, two are pay and display but free to National Trust members
  • Nearest toilets are in Freshwater Bay or Hanover Point car park
  • Nearest refreshments are from a seasonal van at Shippards Chine or in Freshwater Bay