Visiting Compton Bay Beach on the Isle of Wight
Compton Beach is a bay on the south-west part of the Isle of Wight (see map). We often come here throughout the year for walks along the beach or along the high cliff.
This beach offers 2 miles of golden sands, sandstone and chalk cliffs in the distance. The Tennyson Trail crosses over the top of the ridge, providing views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. This beach is known for its white chalk cliff (Freshwater Cliff) that forms a backdrop as well as red and orange rocks on the eastern part of the bay.
Here is what I love about Compton beach:
- open space
- coloured cliffs
- fresh sea air
- interesting geological history linking to dinosaurs
- flowers & butterflies
This landscape retains its beauty throughout the seasons. Whatever the temperature, it is one of my favourite beaches to visit.
What to Do Here
As mentioned, my favourite activity is walking along this beach. The National Trust offers an excellent downs walk on the Isle of Wight, including Compton Downs. This walk is 8 miles and begins at the car park at Freshwater Cliffs and ends at the same location. This beach is also very popular amongst swimmers, surfers and kayaks.
Clifftops With Wildflowers
This beach is stunning in the warmer months since the windflowers are in full bloom. It is known to be one of the best places on the Isle of Wight for blossoms and butterflies. This is because it has been maintained the same way for years with a herd of cattle.
Million Years of History
There are dinosaur footprints here and this beach is great for fossil hunters. You can see them when the tide is low since the beach is covered completely at high tide. According to the National Trust, “the rocks in the Compton area record the time from 126 million years at the youngest chalk in Alum Bay.”
Many people book tours to see the footprints at Hanover Point. Fossils you might find here include: footcasts, fossilised dinosaur bones, lignate, fossilised soil, mud cracks and oyster shells.
The Dinosaur Isle website allows for some interesting reading.
How to Get to Compton Beach
We usually drive to this beach and park in the pay and display car parks available. There are three car parks available – east end of Brook Down, Afton Down and Freshwater Cliffs.
If you want to visit this beach and don’t have a car there is also public transport available. This includes trains that run from Ryde to Shanklin, No. 7 Bus from Ventnor, the 7A Bus from Freshwater and the No. 12 Bus.
Beach Access & Facilities
You will find that the coastal path offers level walking. There are steep steps that lead down to the beach from Hanover Point/Shippard’s Chine as well as steps at Compton Chine/Farm.
In terms of swimming, the sea has a gradual drop off, although there are strong currents you need to watch out for. If you walk halfway down the beach (between Hanover Point & Compton Chine), you can avoid some of the rocky outcrops.
There are toilets available as well as a camp site (Compton Farm). There is also always an ice-cream van on site offering beverages and snacks. Please note – there are some restrictions on bringing dogs to this beach.
Have you been to Compton Bay Beach?
Please share your stories and recommendations below.