Introduction : The Needles are a truly iconic image synonymous with the Isle of Wight. With excellent views from both the sea and the shore, they are an excellent place to start, or finish your journey. The majestic cliffs of multicoloured sands and clay at Alum Bay lead East into dramatic chalk through Tennyson Downs, then back to sandstone and clay along the stretch of Compton.
This area of the Island rolls through a varied landscape of chalk downs, farmland and chines, offering unrivalled views in any direction you choose to look.
All along the coast there are opportunities to pause and take stock with several small car parks and viewpoints. A visit at any time is recommended, but especially just before dusk when a low sun and very slight cloud cover will give you a spectacular sunset, on the right night, and with Mother Nature willing, the chalk cliffs may even glow for you.
Freshwater Bay offers excellent bathing in the summer and Dimbola Lodge, the home of the acclaimed Victorian photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, has permanent and visiting exhibitions.
Compton Bay, under the guardianship of the National Trust, is a popular spot all year round; busy in the summer with sun worshipers, it is also braved by extreme sports enthusiasts throughout the year. The breezy nature of the coast makes for excellent conditions for surfers, as well as those who like to hang and paraglide.
The erosive composition of the sandstone is great for fossil hunters who regularly frequent the shore, especially in autumn when the wet weather increases the number of rock falls. The Isle of Wight is famous internationally for its fossils, hence the nickname "Dinosaur Island".At the southern tip of the Island you will find St. Catherine's Lighthouse and Blackgang Chine Amusement Park.