Best places for dog walking on the Isle of Wight

Miles of footpaths cross our land, from the coast to the downs, meaning that for dog lovers there are many places to take a walk with your four-legged friend on the Isle of Wight.

A bracing seaside walk with your dog can be a wonderful thing. With over 17 miles of National Trust-owned coastline, we have plenty of great locations for you to discover. Particular doggy favourites are the sand dunes around St Helens Duver, and the beach at Compton Bay and Brook.  Dogs are welcome between Brook Chine and Hanover Point all year round, but we ask you not to bring them west of this along Compton between 15 May and 15 September. This is so that we can manage problems with dog waste and protect the interests of other visitors, particularly families with children.

Keeping warm on a blowy day on Compton beach
People on the beach at Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Keeping warm on a blowy day on Compton beach

We look after over 10 percent of the land on the Isle of Wight, including many of the high ridges. The downs at Ventnor, Mottistone and Bembridge all have car parking places and some of these also have dog bins, making the downs a convenient, and beautiful, location to take a walk in the countryside together.

Responsible ownership

We’re glad that you enjoy walking across our countryside and ask that you help us keep it beautiful and enjoyable for others by following our dog policy. If you choose to walk our paths, we’d like you to keep your dog under control and clear up after it.

To help us to keep the countryside a safe, healthy and enjoyable place for everyone please:

• Keep your dog in sight and under close control. Use a lead when necessary and where local signage requests you to do so to help protect wildlife.

What is close control?

Our definition of close or effective control is:

 Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call.

 Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible.

 Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent.

 Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock, wildlife or you are asked to use one.

• Clear up after your dog, particularly in car parks, play areas or on paths, by placing dog mess in a dedicated bin or taking it home.

• Never let your dog chase wildlife or farm animals. It causes serious injuries and your dog could become lost or hit by a car.

• Observe local notices when you’re out and about. There may be legal restrictions where nature is particularly vulnerable, in woodland or on farmland at sensitive times of year, such as in spring, during the lambing season, and between the beginning of March and the end of July when ground-nesting birds are on eggs or raising their young.

We’ve chosen a few of our downloadable walks that are particularly dog friendly to help you decide where to go.

Visitors and a dog at the Needles Battery, Isle of Wight eating and drinking in the tea-room.
Walking trail

Needles Headland 

7 miles, challenging. It might be a long walk, but it's worth it for the views, and along the way, there's even refreshment to enjoy. After a brisk walk along the Needles Headland, you can pop down to the Needles Old Battery tea-room for some refueling treats. Best of all, there's a dog friendly section, so no matter how many legs you have, everyone can enjoy the mouth watering food.

A grassy path entices the walker onto St Helens Duver
Walking trail

St Helens Duver 

Easy, 3.5 miles. At St Helens you can play amongst the sand dunes and explore the beach at Nodes Point. There’s lots of space on the old golf course to throw a ball or stick and the Duver is flat too making it suitable for everyone. There’s also a car park (free for NT members), and you’ll find dog bins across the Duver and Common.

An inviting track leads from the lane towards the Long Stone at Mottistone
Walking trail

Mottistone Estate 

4 miles, moderate. Follow the whole trail and you’ll have a long, invigorating walk across the downs with your four legged friend. Or if you’d rather have a shorter walk, there are plenty of other paths that run across Mottistone Common. There’s a car park in Strawberry Lane and car parks with dog bins at Mottistone Gardens and on the top of the downs (Jubilee car park).

Dog walkers on Ventnor Down looking west towards St Catherine's
Walking trail

Ventnor Downs 

2.6 miles, variable difficulty. How far you follow this trail will depend on how energetic you and your dog are feeling. If you’d like to tire your dog out then you could complete the whole walk, but if not then walking steps 1 to 5 and back to the car will still give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. There are plenty of car parking places on top of the downs and you’ll also find dog bins provided.

The sea and Sandown Bay from the grassy slopes of Bembridge Downs
Walking trail

Bembridge and Culver Downs 

Our short (1.8 miles), easy walk on Bembridge Downs is the perfect place to stretch your legs together. It takes you past Bembridge Fort and Culver Battery, along the crest of the downs, which means you’ll get some far-reaching views as well. There are also six car parks to choose from.