Things to see and do at St Helens Duver
Pack a picnic, the children and the dog, then set off for a day at St Helens Duver on the Isle of Wight. There's something to keep everyone busy, from rock-pooling on the beach to wildflower and bird spotting, and plenty of grassy open land for running off some steam.
Explore the land
Take a walk
St Helens Duver is a wonderful open space to wander; in May it’s carpeted with thrift, though there’s much to see at all times of the year. Pause along the way to watch the birds, or just sit and soak up the tranquillity.
Walk your dog on the old golf course
The flat, open, grassy spaces of the old golf course at St Helens Duver offer your four-legged-friend lots of space for a walk or enjoy a game of fetch, although there are paths around the lagoon and sea wall.
Please help us keep this place beautiful by cleaning up after your canine companion. If you're keen to walk near the water's edge with your dog, you can help birds that are feeding here by choosing to walk to the edge and back, rather than along the waterline, as this will disturb them less.
By the sea
The beach at Nodes Point
The beach at St Helens is ideal for making sandcastles when low tide exposes the sand, or simply for watching the waves and seeing the ships pass by.
Rock-pooling by the shore
The limestone ledges off St Helens Duver are great for rock-pooling. Carefully peel back the seaweed and gently move some rocks to reveal all sorts of small sea creatures.
What might you find in the St Helens' rock pools?
The rock pools are teeming with life, including sea anemones, crabs and brittle stars. The limestone crevices provide shelter for whelks, limpets and periwinkles. Barnacles often encrust the rock. Sea anemones live in the pools and damper surfaces.
Many different types of worms live in the sands, and sea squirts cling to the rocks. Small fish such as blennies and gobies hide among the seaweed.
Different types of crab hide among the rocks. Turn over a few and see what’s hiding there. You may find a squat lobster or some shrimps. But please always put the rocks back in place afterwards to avoid disturbing living things.
Please remember to follow the rock-pooling code:
- Always take care and wear sensible footwear because rocks can be slippery
- Remember that nets can harm delicate animals.
- Carefully put rocks and seaweed back the same way up as you found them
- Return any creatures that you find back to their rock pool homes with minimum handling
Wildflowers and wildlife
St Helens Duver is a wonderful place for nature that adapts to the changing conditions, and so you might spot wildflowers in the grassland of the old golf links and around the marshy shore. April and May are the best months to spot tiny flowers that spring up here, and some flowers are from the turf brought in to create the original golf course.
We carefully manage the land to encourage a range of coastal flowers, insects and birds. Climate change is causing the sea level to rise here, which means sea water is gradually seeping in and creating a salt marsh. The dune plants are being replaced by rushes and sea purslane which prefer the salty conditions.
Over the lagoons and at nearby Bembridge Harbour you may see flocks of geese, duck and waders in the winter. In the summer, look out for warblers and other small birds in the bushes and long grass.
This varied habitat provides a haven for birds, particularly those migrating from far away.
Discover the human history of St Helens Duver, from the earliest evidence of human activity, the building of Old St Helens Church, and the smuggling activity rife in the area.
Discover the huge range of wild animals that have made a home in the rock pools, grassland and woodlands on the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight.
Try out the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities children can enjoy by the sea, from paddling or swimming, to catching crabs and skimming stones.
While canoeing and kayaking are great ways to experience nature and keep fit, they can be dangerous if you don't follow the guidelines. Learn how to stay safe with our advice and guidance.
Discover the 780 miles of beautiful coastline in our care. Plan your next coastal adventure, whether you want to explore soft, sandy beaches or rugged, windswept cliffs.
Explore the dramatic coastline of the Isle of Wight, with its magnificent beaches and cliff-top walks offering open views and beautiful wildflowers.
Discover more than 5,000 acres of countryside on the Isle of Wight, from rolling downs and magical woods to a National Nature Reserve, with plentiful wildlife-spotting opportunities.