The island is the perfect place to discover an abundance of wildlife. Protected by the Solent from the mainland you can enjoy exploring vast swathes of ancient woodland and shoreline, just don’t forget your binoculars.
The Isle of Wight is one of the few remaining homes of the red squirrel. With no natural predator and invasive greys kept at bay by the waters of the Solent, the island is the perfect environment for them to thrive. That doesn’t mean they are easy to spot though. They are timid creatures, any movement or noise will scare them away. The best time to see them is usually at dawn or dusk when they are likely to be actively feeding. Borthwood Copse centrally located near Winsford is owned by the National Trust and the woodland is specifically manged to support the red squirrel. The copse is a lovely tranquil place to spend some time. Carpeted with bluebells in spring, it’s a great place to relax into nature and with a bit of luck, spot an elusive red.
Hidden in the heart of the seaside village of Seaview on the eastern side of the island is a little known nature reserve. Named after Alan Hersey, a former councillor with an interest in protecting the environment, the reserve was created in 2002 on a natural flood plain. Enter via the gate and follow the path which meanders around the reserve. You will come across a bird hide where you can see a wide variety of wading birds and wildfowl in a peaceful natural environment. There are signs to help identify the birds you see and access is free.
A nature lovers paradise, Newtown Nature Reserve is a great place for wildlife spotting any time of year. The creeks and estuary here are the perfect place to see a profusion of winter migrating birds. In warmer months flower rich meadows and ancient woodland offer up the chance to see rare butterflies, moths and red squirrels. Absorb the peace and quiet and immerse yourself in nature either on land or from the water. Situated to the north of the island, there’s also a 17th century town hall to see.
White-tailed Eagles – Culver Downs
After an absence of over 240 years, these majestic creatures have been re-introduced to the Isle of Wight. Conservationists released six young eagles on the island over 18 months ago, and whilst their location has been a closely secret to ensure the young are not disturbed in their new home, they can now be spotted soaring over the island. They are pretty easy to spot as fully grown adults have a wing-span of nearly 2 ½ metres and they also sport a huge yellow beak. Over the next few years more birds will be released and it is hoped breeding pairs will be established to ensure the long term success of the project. So, whilst you are out and about on the island keep a look out, especially around Culver Down where there have been sightings of these magnificent raptors.
Fancy a break nature watching on the Isle of Wight? Take a look at our lovely collection of properties here and start planning your adventure.