The West Wight has many areas of outstanding natural beauty - rolling countryside, peaceful forests, picturesque villages and breathtaking coastal scenery, such as the rugged white cliffs of Freshwater Bay, the multi-coloured sandstone cliffs of Alum Bay and of course, the famous landmark Needles rocks. '

Freshwater Bay on the West Coast of the Isle of WightThe port of Yarmouth, with its ferry link to Lymington was the first Island settlement to be granted a royal town charter, in 1135. The town was sacked by the French in 1377 and 1524 and King Henry VIII built Yarmouth castle as a coastal defence in 1547. The unique 700ft long timber pier dating from 1876 is now a Grade II listed building and 552 deck planks record the names of those who helped fund its restoration in the 1990s. Yarmouth harbour has berthing and on-shore facilities for visiting yachtsmen. The Yar estuary attracts walkers and bird watchers and there is a cycle way to Freshwater, along the route of the former railway line. There are some interesting shops, cafes, restaurants and traditional pubs.

Victorian Freshwater has the air of a town, but in fact holds the status of a village. An 18 hole golf course is superbly situated on the downs above Freshwater Bay, there are plenty of shops, and West Wight Sports Centre has a public indoor swimming pool. Now a hotel, Farringford was once the home of poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and nearby is the Island's only thatched church, St. Agnes, built on land donated by the Tennyson family in 1908. Pioneer Victorian photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, lived at Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater Bay, which is now a photographic museum. The bay has a small beach and a large car park and is the ideal starting point for cliff-top walks, such as the Tennyson Trail to the Needles, with breathtaking views of the Channel and Solent. Inland from the bay is Afton Marsh Nature Trail.

The west coast has many beautiful beaches and most are accessible by road or from the coastal path. At Alum Bay, the Needles Park has a chairlift to the beach, from which you can see the famous coloured sands or take a boat trip to view the Needles rocks and lighthouse. Families enjoy the delightful small beach at Totland Bay and the golden sands of Colwell Bay, which offers beach huts and water sports. Compton Bay is very popular with windsurfers.

See also:

Freshwater Golf Club   Freshwater Golf Club
18 hole links course on open natural downland, visitors are welcome, light refreshments & full...
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Needles Pleasure Park   Needles Pleasure Park
Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, there's breathtaking scenery, a spectacular chairlift ...
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Totland Bay   Totland Bay
Totland Bay is stuated on the West side of the Island where families enjoy the delightful beach....
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Places to go in Freshwater   Places to go in Freshwater
List of places to go in and around Freshwater on the Isle of Wight...
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