AboutFreshwater Bay is one of the most picturesque beaches in West Wight and lies just to the South of the town of Freshwater. The beach is covered in a mixture of grey flint and chalk pebbles that make a unique sound as the waves rise and fall onto the shore. There is sand below the low water mark and some sandy areas to sit if you walk to the more eastern side of the bay. There is also a rock ledge revealed at low tide at this side, which is great for rockpooling with your kids.
The Bay has been hewn from the chalk cliffs that surround it by thousands of years of exposure to the waves and the small river that runs from here to Yarmouth. Now dammed at this end, leaving a marsh in the hollow of the bay area, the river Yar flows northwards from here and the sea wall and coastal road prevent its egress to the sea.
Smugglers once used the caves around the bottom of the chalk cliffs that are exposed at low tide – if you wish to explore them it is best to find a local guide as you can become cut off by the tide. Kayaking is the ideal way to see them and the other small bays, Watcombe and Scratchells, that are also hewn from the chalk. This beach is popular for surfing and watersports and boats will moor offshore to come ashore. The Freshwater Independent Lifeboat is launched from this bay when required by those in trouble at sea.
One of the oldest beach cafes, The Freshwater Bay Cafe, sits on the road through the bay, selling ice creams, cream teas and some beach goods and sundries. Opposite here the Albion Hotel houses a public bar and behind the bay is a large car park off of which is the Sandpipers Hotel: also a popular bar and eatery. You can access another cafe, The Dandelion, from a path on the eastern side of the bay (or drive up Gate Lane and turn off at the sign).
Wait until an abnormally low tide (see tide tables) to walk across the rocky exposed ledge to see the caves and small bay to the western side of Freshwater Bay. Make sure to book some watersports tuition with Isle of Wight Adventure Activies at Afton Apple Farm nearby who operate from the Bay.
Freshwater Bay is serviced by the number 12 Southern Vectis bus and during the summer months the new Dinosaur Line will run from here to Ventnor and return.
Map & Directions
- Brook, Compton, Freshwater and Alum Bay
|Open (1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2018)|