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Two visitors find a suitable fallen log to sit on in Borthwood Copse
Taking a break in Borthwood Copse | © National Trust Images / John Millar
Isle of Wight

Borthwood Copse red squirrel walk

This short atmospheric walk in a secluded part of the island takes you through woods that are home to a special resident of the Isle of Wight, the red squirrel. It is a particularly beautiful place to be when the trees take on their autumn colours in October and early November. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Parish Council car park, off Alverstone Rd on Winford to Alverstone road, grid ref: SZ566843

Step 1

Enter the wood and start to descend. The path soon reaches a cathedral-like clearing of beech trees with fallen logs offering good places to sit.

Step 2

Bear left immediately on entering the clearing and take a rising path, the left-most of two paths leaving the clearing at the same point. Pass through a holly thicket on the way to the top where it begins to open out near the edge of the wood. Bear right to descend again just before some house gardens. Bear left at a junction, following the line of the boundary of the gardens and soon the path broadens out in a clearing by an oak tree. Follow this track onwards and downwards, bearing right at a junction to meet an even wider crossing track 25yds (25m) further on.

A mass of bluebells carpet the ground in Borthwood Copse
A mass of spring bluebells in Borthwood Copse | © National Trust / Chuck Eccleston ARPS

Step 3

Turn right and follow this main track almost to the edge of the wood, ignoring all side paths. Over its length, the path rises gently through a gully, then falls, and rises again.

Secretive inhabitants of Borthwood: the red squirrel and the dormouse
There is a good chance of seeing red squirrels in Borthwood, but dormice keep well hidden | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey (squirrel) and Ross Hoddinott (dormouse)

Step 4

Eventually you will see a field through the trees to the left. Just before a right bend that leads to a stile 90yds (80 m) away and out of the wood, turn right along a narrow westerly path which follows the line of the edge of the wood. It rises gently, emerging shortly after another holly thicket close to a fence into a field on the left. Turn sharp right here and follow the path downwards, past yet more holly, to a crossing track.

Step 5

Cross the track and continue ahead into the beech wood clearing. Bear left along the edge of the clearing and rejoin the original path. Turn left back to the car park.

End point

Parish Council car park, off Alverstone Rd on Winford to Alverstone road, grid ref: SZ566843

Trail map

Borthwood Copse Red Squirrel walk map
Borthwood Copse Red Squirrel walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2015 Ordnance Survey

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near Winford, Isle of Wight, PO36 0LD

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