In FactsWalks

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Freshwater Bay and the West Wight, discover the many historical buildings and learn about the influential figures who have lived and visited this picturesque part of the Island during years gone by. 

View of Freshwater Bay from cliff

Freshwater Bay Trail

This heritage trail through the stunning Freshwater Bay area includes the charming St Agnes’ Church, the only thatched church on the Isle of Wight, as well Dimbola, a popular museum celebrating the Victorian photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron and home to an impressive life-sized bronze statue of music legend Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix performed one of his last ever sets at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 prior to his untimely death. 

Outside view of Dimbola Museum

The trail highlights Freshwater Bay as the hub for other famous figures during the Victorian period such as Henry Sewell, the first Prime Minster of New Zealand who stayed in several Victorian houses commissioned by Queen Victoria. 

The route also visits the properties that famous poet, William Allingham once lived and entertained in, with famous friends coming to stay such as Charles Dodson aka Lewis Carroll. Another site of interest featured is the birthplace of scientist and Antarctic explorer, Sir Vivian Fuchs at ‘The Square’. 

West Wight Trail

Head for a stroll along the West Wight trail and take a historical journey around the popular area, recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

Start your adventure at Alum Bay with a spectacular view of the iconic landmark, the Needles as well as a number of historic sites. The Marconi Monument at Alum Bay marks where Guglielmo Marconi sent the first wireless transmission in 1897.  A visit to the Needles Old Battery overlooking the Needles is also a must, built to provide a coastal defence, along with the Needles New Battery used as a secret rocket testing site! A trip to the Needles on any day is one to remember, but on a clear bright day the view from atop the Old Battery of the deep blue waters, coloured cliffs and famous chalk stacks is something to behold. 

Sunset over the Needles

Enjoy the breath taking views across Freshwater Bay from the iconic Tennyson Monument, a memorial to the famous Victorian poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson who lived at Farringford in Freshwater – be sure to pay a visit to this grand property and pretty gardens on route. 

Look out for The Bay Boutique Bed and Breakfast along the trail, now a popular boutique B&B, the house was once accommodation for World War II troops and a maternity hospital. 

Outside view of The Bay Boutique B&B

Discover several historical coastal defence sites along the West Wight trail, including Fort Victoria, Golden Hill Fort and Yarmouth Castle - built by order of Henry VIII.

For more information about the trails and to download the maps visit The Bay Boutique Bed and Breakfast website

Competition - win a selection of prizes from local businesses.

Once you’ve explored all or part of the trails enter the competition by providing some feedback. Enter before the end of October 2021 to be in a chance of winning the below prizes:

  • A £25 voucher for The Red Lion, Freshwater.
  • A cream tea for two at Jireh House, Yarmouth.
  • A weekend's electric bike hire for two from Wight Cycle Hire, Yarmouth.
  • A weekend’s electric bike hire for two from The Bay Boutique Bed and Breakfast.
  • A £25 voucher for Adrian’s Bike Shop, Freshwater.
  • A limited edition print of a Freshwater Bay scene from Island artist Maria Ward.

To enter the competition please visit The Bay Boutique Bed and Breakfast website.