Opening times for 5 December 2023
Asset Opening time Countryside Dawn - Dusk
Compton Bay toilets closed from 1 November for winter.MTWTFSS2728293012345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
Three pay and display car parks at Brook, Hanover and Compton Chine. Pay by phone and cash facilities for non-members at Brook and Hanover car parks. Free parking for National Trust members, please remember to scan your cards. Other car parks: east end of Brook Down, Afton Down and Freshwater Cliffs. No overnight parking.
Food and drinks available from mobile catering van (seasonal).
Dogs welcome on beach between Hanover Point and Brook Chine all year. Seasonal dog ban on beach west of Compton Bay car park (15th May – 15th September). Dogs welcome elsewhere - please keep your dog on a short lead around livestock and under close control at all other times.
Toilets available at Hanover Point car park (closed from 1 Nov for winter).
Some relatively level walking on the coast path. Paths on downs are steep. with stiles, kissing gates and steps. Tennyson Trail (Brook to Freshwater Bay) includes bridle gates and field gates. Sea is quite shallow for a long way out. Strong surf and currents, depending on weather. Access to beach is via short flights of wooden steps with hand rails at Compton Bay car park and Brook, and via a long flight of wooden steps with hand rails near Compton Chine.
Accessible route and/or map
There is some relatively level walking on the coast path.
Most of the paths up onto the downs are steep.
Available at Hanover Point car park (closed from 1 Nov for winter).
There are a number of stiles, kissing gates and steps. The Tennyson Trail (Brook to Freshwater Bay) includes bridle gates. Field gates also on Tennyson Trail across the downs. Access to the beach is via short flights of wooden steps with handrails at Hanover car park and Brook, and via a long flight of wooden steps with handrails near Compton Chine.
Compton Bay lies on the A3055 Military Road which follows the coast between Freshwater Bay to Niton. The downs can also be accessed from the Military Road.
There are many footpaths in this area: consult Ordance Survey Landranger Map 196 or OS Explorer OL29. The waymarked Isle of Wight Coast Path passes along the cliff tops at Compton Bay.
Southern Vectis bus service from Newport stops at Compton Bay in the summer. For details of bus timetables see www.islandbuses.info.
The 'Round the Island' cycle path passes by Compton Bay on the A3055 Military Road.
Discover all about visiting Compton Bay and Downs, Isle of Wight, with your four-legged friend. Compton Bay and Downs is a two pawprint rated place. Please be aware that at this time of year (until 5 May) dogs are welcome on the beach west of Compton Bay car park.
One of the Island's favourite beaches, the shallow bay is the best place for surfing. The cliffs are a rich source of dinosaur fossils.
Wildlife-rich Afton, Brook and Compton Downs and Dunsbury, are one of the biggest expanses of open downland, covered in wildflowers and colourful butterflies.
Discover one of the Isle of Wight’s favourite spots with plenty of space to explore, search for fossils, spot local wildlife, surf, cycle and ride your horse.
Go fossil hunting and discover history on a gigantic scale, with dinosaur footprints, fossilised oyster shells, ammonites, flint made from ancient sponges and modern-day shipwrecks
9 & 22 Dec, 6 & 20 Jan, 3 & 17 Feb, 9 & 23 March. Award-winning Wight Coast Fossils are holding guided fossil walks at Compton Bay this winter. Compton beach is one of the best places to encounter the Island’s rich geological past. During one of the walks, you'll learn more about this amazing history; have an opportunity to find fossilised bone, teeth and wood; and even see huge dinosaur foot casts laying on the beach. Booking is essential. Please follow the link for more information.
A 7.5 mile walk around Compton Bay and Afton Ridge, taking in far-reaching views and the dinosaur fossil beach.
Admire the coastal views, learn about the coastguard's early beginnings and spot wildlife such as birds and butterflies on this circular trail through the Dunsbury Estate.
This walk passes along the chalk ridge that runs through the middle of the Isle of Wight, one of the best places in the country for spotting rare butterflies, including Adonis blue, small blue, dark-green fritillary and Glanville fritillary.
Home to what is generally considered to be one of the best beaches on the Island and backed by fossil-rich cliffs, Compton Bay is the perfect place for families to enjoy soft sands, sparkling waters and dinosaur footprint hunting. From creating a sandcastle and surfing the waves in the summer to talking a wild winter walk along the beach, the many coloured cliffs and the coastal views to Dorset provide a wonderful backdrop and a fascinating geological history stretching back millions of years.
Shaped by the sea, dramatic coastal erosion creates a landscape that is filled with a range of nationally and internationally important plants and animals. From the coast, a network of footpaths crosses the rising chalk downland to the Tennyson Trail on the very top of the ridge, making it perfect walking country. The wildlife-rich grassland that grows here, considered the best on the Island, is home of a great number of flowers and butterflies including the Island’s own Glanville fritillary. We’re currently working to change more areas of this landscape so that the whole of it becomes rich in wildlife for generations to come.
Discover the Isle of Wight project that aims to introduce farming that’s both productive and good for wildlife, where people can walk, as well as enjoy butterfly and birdwatching.
Find out about the improvements we're planning to make to the car park and visitor facilities at Compton Bay.