Things to see and do at The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down

The Needles Headland and Tennyson Down

On Tennyson Down the air is so fresh it is 'worth sixpence a pint' so said Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson Down has been rated by a national poll as the fourth best place in Britain to have a picnic. It's a wonderful spot, with glorious views all round.

The Needles

Test your head for heights at The Needles view point, high up on the chalk cliffs. These unmissable sea views are one of the greatest you can find on our land throughout the whole country.

Tennyson monument

The Tennyson monument marks the highest point of the chalk cliffs of West Wight – 482ft (147m) above sea level.

Points of view

Head on up Headon Down – a breathtaking 4¼ mile walk with splendid views of the mainland, and a Bronze Age burial mound.

Wildlife spotting

The chalk slopes of Tennyson Down are good places to spot blue butterflies such as the adonis, chalkhill and common blues.

The heather-covered acid heathland of Headon Warren, glowing purple in autumn, offers a quite distinct habitat from the nearby chalky Tennyson Down. This is such a lovely place for those of us who love wildflowers.

Bird watching

The elusive Dartford warbler makes its home on Headon Warren. But this area is probably best known for the seabirds that pass close to the shore, and the occasional peregrine falcon and raven. The Needles area does 'attract' some of the fiercest winds on the English Channel coastline, and often bird rarities are blown in.

Walking over Tennyson Down

We have created two walks for you to follow:

7 mile (11km) Meander with Maud
4¼ mile (6.8km) Headon Warren - Points of view
Walking over Headon Warren with its superb views of the Needles or following in the footsteps of Lord Tennyson over what's now called Tennyson Down is definitely one of the best things to do on the Isle of Wight.

Dogs adore the wide open spaces and rabbit-trimmed turf on top of Tennyson Down. And sometimes, like us, they like to take a rest and admire the view.

Go geocaching

There are a number of geocaches located with our permission on our places on Tennyson Down and Headon Warren. There is even one hidden within the exhibits in the Old Battery. Grab your GPS and come on a treasure hunt.

Explore the history

From Bronze Age burial sites through Victorian defences to top-secret Cold War rocket testing, this secluded area on the western tip of the Isle of Wight has a fascinating history to tell. For example, Marconi experimented here as well as on our Knowles Farm estate.