The National Trust is inviting people to find out more about its vision for the future of one of the Island’s most beautiful stretches of coastline.
The conservation charity is hosting a series of public exhibition days to reveal initial plans for Compton Bay and Downs – 1500 acres of sandy beaches, farmland and chalk downland on the dramatic south west coast, which is experiencing rapid coastal erosion.
Over the last year the National Trust has been researching how the area may change, taking into account the impact of coastal erosion on National Trust coastal car parks, and on access to the beach and A3055 Military Road, both of which are the responsibility of the Isle of Wight Council.
Visitors to the events in Freshwater, Brighstone and Brook will be able to chat with Trust representatives about the charity’s plans for the sustainable future of this much-loved landscape, such as environmentally-friendly farming to help wildlife thrive.
Compton Bay and Downs is exceptionally rich in wildlife, harbouring rare species like the beautiful orange and brown chequered Glanville fritillary butterfly, which now survives only on the inaccessible undercliffs here, and on the Channel Islands.
Its nationally important habitats have SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest), and its scenic beauty is nationally recognised too – the entire area is part of the Island’s AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and the Tennyson Heritage Coast.
Popular with both Islanders and visitors, this glorious mix of landscapes is easy to explore via a network of paths and open access land. The beaches are an all-year round attraction for walking, swimming, fossil hunting and surfing. The Trust is keen to ensure that the area continues to remain accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Tony Tutton, Isle of Wight General Manager, said: “Compton Bay is a place loved and enjoyed by many people, and Compton Down is one of many great Island walks. The opportunity to link these places up is hugely exciting prospect – an entire landscape with great walks, rich in wildlife and with fantastic views. This will not only be special for the Island but it will become a national treasure.”
The events are an opportunity for Islanders to tell the National Trust why Compton Bay and Downs is special to them, as the charity develops its plans to protect this special landscape for the future.
Public exhibition days:
· The Wilberforce Hall, Brighstone on Saturday (October 13)
· The Memorial Hall, Avenue Road, Freshwater on Saturday (October 20) and
· The Seely Hall, Brook on Saturday (November 3)
Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions. Tea and coffee will be available.
For more information on the National Trust on the Isle of Wight visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/regionlondonsoutheast/isle-of-wight