50 autumnal things to do on the Isle of Wight

Autumn is a great time to try some of your '50 things to do before you’re 11¾', and on the Island we have some of the best places to do them. Woodlands, like Borthwood, have big trees to climb and leaves to catch, the downs are covered with blackberries, and at Newtown, migrating birds fill the air. So the whole family can make the most of the autumn days in the great outdoors. And with every leaf you catch, you’re helping to protect sleepy dormice through winter.

Children climbing a tree in the grounds of Mottisfont, Hampshire.

No. 1 Get to know a tree in Borthwood Copse

Borthwood Copse has some very ancient that have lots of stories to tell. There are gnarly oaks, and majestic beeches to explore but you might want to avoid the prickly holly. Can you climb as high as a red squirrel? They live in Borthwood Copse, so whilst you’re up there, you might spot them in the branches too.

Den building

No. 4 Build a den in Mottistone Gardens

Hidden towards the back of the gardens at Mottistone is the Wild Area. Filled with fallen branches and leaves, it’s the perfect spot to create a secret den, hidden amongst the trees. The gardens are open until the end of October, but if you don’t make it along in time, Borthwood is another great place to build a den in autumn.

Boy putting conkers into a jar

No. 10 Play conkers at Bembridge Windmill

Conkers come from the horse chestnut tree and there just so happens to be a big one at Bembridge Windmill. Bring a piece of string, find the biggest, strongest nut you can, and then see if your mighty conker can beat all the rest.

Two girls picking blackberries from a bush

No. 21 Forage for wild food on Mottistone Estate

Brambles might have sharp spikes but they also have very tasty fruit and are good habitats for wildlife. Follow the paths around the Longstone and you’ll find them in amongst the gorse and other bushes. They’re best when they’re dark purple, plump and juicy (otherwise they can be sour if picked too early). They’ll even stain your fingers purple when you pick them if they’re very squidgy.

Girl looking through a telescope in the hide at Newtown National Nature Reserve

No. 44 Watch a bird at Newtown

Autumn is a busy time for birds at Newtown. It’s when lots of them leave and others arrive because of the changing temperatures. On a rainy day, try the Mercia Seabroke bird hide down by the quay. It has a special upstairs area just for young explorers to spot birds, whilst adults can relax below.