Skip to content
A common blue butterfly rests on top of a yellow bird's foot trefoil
A beautiful common blue butterfly resting on bird’s foot trefoil | © National Trust Images / Ross Hoddinott
Isle of Wight

Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk

This moderate walk passes along the chalk ridge that runs through the middle of the Isle of Wight. This swathe of downland is one of the best places in the country for spotting wonderful butterflies: Adonis blue and chalkhill blue species live here in abundance, with large populations of small blue, dark-green fritillary and Glanville fritillary as well. Brown argus and grayling can also be spotted, and in late summer you can often catch a glimpse of the clouded yellow.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

Compton Chine/Afton Down car park, grid ref: SZ367854

Step 1

Cross the road from the car park, turn right on the roadside path until you see a chalky path rising diagonally on the right-hand side, signed bridleway F34.

Step 2

Follow this path uphill until you reach a track at the top.

A view to the sea over the trimmed gorse on Compton Down
Downland managed for wildlife on Brook and Compton Downs | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 3

Turn right (eastwards) along the track and continue through a golf course and one gate before eventually descending steeply. Dark green fritillary abounds amongst the cut gorse areas in July.

Step 4

20yds (20m) after a 'No entry for vehicles' sign, and just after a track joining from right, take a sharp left and round up into Brook Down quarry to explore the quarry slopes and gorse glades.

Step 5

Head back to cross the main track and bear left just before the 'No entry for vehicles' sign. Follow this grassy track upwards. Look out for Adonis blues. At the crest of the rise, next to some cattle pens, bear to the right of two gateposts marking the track leading down the hill.

Two chalkhill blue butterflies (left) and a resting small blue butterfly with its wings closed
Chalkhill blues (left) and small blue butterfly (right) | © Matthew Oates

Step 6

Follow one of the lower cattle tracks parallel to the track. This is open downland with no defined footpaths. Aim just to the right of a line of bushes at the base of the hill in the distance, or the main road beyond. Follow this low level and narrow path as far as Compton Coombe, always keeping on the downs side of the fence line.

Step 7

You need to climb up the coombe and leave at the top right, about three quarters of the hill height.

Step 8

Take a level path around the head of the combe, through gorse to a five-bar gate in the fence into an un-grazed section (the path drops downhill slightly before the gate). Continue straight on along the now well-defined grassy track, which descends eventually to the car park. This area is best for graylings, green hairstreaks and small blues.

Step 9

During the Glanville fritillary season (June to early August), take a detour to Compton Chine via the road or the coast path from the car park. Go down the wooden steps. This is also a great bathing beach.

End point

Compton Chine/Afton Down car park, grid ref: SZ367854

Trail map

Paradise on the Isle of Wight’ butterfly walking trail map
Paradise on the Isle of Wight’ butterfly walking trail map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2015 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

The footpath sign ahead beckons to the chalk cliffs of Freshwater Bay

Compton Bay and Downs walk 

A 7.5 mile walk around Compton Bay and Afton Ridge, taking in far-reaching views and the dinosaur fossil beach.

DistanceMiles: 7.5 (km: 12)

Get in touch

Compton, Isle of Wight, PO30 4HB

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in


Compton Bay and Downs Compton Butterflies walk GPX file 

Right-click and 'Save Link As' or ‘Save Target As’ or ‘Download Linked File As’ (depending on your browser) to download this Compton Butterflies walk GPX file to your device, then open with your GPS program.

A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

Looking west from the sandy beach at Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight, with white cliffs, Tennyson Down and Afton Down, divided by Freshwater Bay, in the distance

Things to see and do at Compton Bay and Downs 

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.

A dog leaps in the air to catch a ball on the beach

Visiting Compton Bay and Downs with your dog 

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 15 Sept) dogs are are not permitted on the beach west of Compton Bay car park but are welcome on the beach between Hanover Point and Brook Chine.

Walkers looking out over the sea towards Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

Walking on the Isle of Wight 

From discovering dinosaur fossils on a walk at Compton Bay and Downs to the secluded creeks and waterways of Newtown National Nature Reserve, find out where to go for the best walks on the Isle of Wight.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.