The Belmont - Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Off the Track

These are places that are not top attractions but shouldn’t be missed

Rylstone Gardens is a gem and is very easily missed thanks to it’s hidden and high location and yet it is very near to Shanklin Old Village. It is possible to drop someone off here but there are no car parks and I seem to remember the very narrow lane that does go near the area has no or very limited parking on it.

Fort Victoria Fort Victoria nr Yarmouth. Several small exhibitions present good value amongst this old Fort and Aquarium. A safe walk can be had on top of the Fort itself to take in the view and air. Picnic area and cafe with the adjacent small beach which is excellent for unusual stones and the like – for those that like beachcombing

St. Catherine’s Lighthouse Niton. The Islands Best Kept Secret. Recently re-opened to the public with guided tours of this 1840’s Lighthouse on the Islands most southerly point. It is not possible to park near the lighthouse, visitors have to park at the top of the hill and walk down a lane. Still worth a pleasant walk even if not visiting the lighthouse itself. Check opening times – these vary most months of the year.

Bembridge Windmill nr Bembridge. The Islands only surviving windmill owned and maintained by The National Trust. Limited parking nearby, small gift shop, opening times vary according to season. Located just off B3395 about half a mile South of Bembridge.

A Victorian fort gradually being restored In a commanding position on top of Bembridge Down, Isle of Wight, this derelict Victorian fort is now open for volunteer-run guided tours.

The Duver has an interesting history as a Victorian golf course with royal patronage. But now it is a fascinating place to look for wildlife from burrowing digger wasps to wasp spiders, and tiny flowers or water birds over the harbour.

Yarborough Monument on Culver Down. Close to our land on Culver Down, the impressive Yarborough Monument – the tallest on the Isle of Wight – is a prominent feature on the skyline of the east of the island.

The Pepperpot. A tall medieval octagonal tower, allegedly a lighthouse, built here in 1328 as penance for stealing church property from a wrecked ship. Affectionately known as the Pepperpot, it stands on one of the highest parts of the Isle of Wight.

Ashey Down: The Sea Mark. This stone marine navigation pillar was built in 1735. It has a triangular footprint, but is it the remaining stump of a previously needle shaped object? Viewed looking eastwards from Mersley Down. Ashey Seamark, on the summit of the down, is a triangular pyramid, erected by the Trinity Board, and guides the navigation into St Helen’s Road at Spithead. The Ryde waterworks, constructed in 1855, are at the foot of the down.

Newtown Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is a wonderful place to discover wildlife. Black tailed godwit arrive from Iceland in winter. Newtown also provides glorious opportunities for walks and sailing.Take a gentle 1½ to 4-mile stroll through the varied habitats of the Island’s only National Nature Reserve, and visit a town hall with a colourful past. The 17th-century town hall with no town but a fascinating history.

Newchurch Observatory.
Started in 1976 the ‘Vectis Astronomical Society’ on the Isle of Wight is a friendly group of 100 or so amateur astronomers. We are based near the small village of Newchurch and we have a well equipped Observatory in Watery lane, very near Amazon World. The observatory is open for stargazing every Thursday evening.

We booked this hotel at short notice and it didn't disappoint, the hosts Des and Linda are very friendly and will assist you in any way they can. The rooms are clean and tidy and we couldn't fault a thing. Linda cooks the most amazing breakfast imaginable. All in all I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anybody. We are returning soon so will be looking forward to checking in.- Steve and Francesca - London