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Arreton Down

Steep chalk downland on the Isle of Wight with good views and a large number of flowers and butterflies

This is the largest area of unimproved chalk downland on the central chalk ridge of the Isle of Wight. There is an abundance of chalk grassland plants, which in turn support many butterflies, such as Brown Argus and Chalkhill Blue. The rare Field Cricket has been released here as part of the national Species Recovery Programme. There are extensive views across the Island from the higher parts of the down.


Things to look out for

Arreton holds a great variety of wildfllowers, the best areas have around 30 species per square metre and the scrub edge forms a band of shelter creating warm areas which benefit the many butterflies present. The Arreton is also dotted with Barrows, Holloways and finds of ancient artefacts have been made. However, the down is protected and metal detecting and digging is not allowed! Any archaeological investigations are only undertaken by professionals with permission of the Wildlife Trust and Natural England.

There are wonderful views, from the higher parts of the down, of the East Yar valley, the Wroxall and Ventnor Downs, St Catherine’s Down, Culver Down, Newport, Chillerton, West Highdown and the Needles.  

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust manage our nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife and we would like to thank all of our visitors that take care when walking on our nature reserves. We are working hard to engage with the dog walking community, in particular those that visit our nature reserves with their dog. The Trust’s "Dogs on Reserves" project has produced a leaflet that explains how to act responsibly on our nature reserves, along with some general guidance for dog walking visitors and advice about walking amongst cattle.


Getting to Arreton Down

Road: From Newport take A3020 towards Sandown. At Blackwater, follow the A3056 into Arreton village, past Arreton Cross. At the White Lion Pub, turn left into the village car park. The footpath to the reserve heads north, taking you past the church. For Sat Nav users - PO30 3AA to White Lion pub, Arreton.

Parking: The nearest car park is the village car park next to White Lion pub on the A3020.

Public transport: Arreton Barns craft village  is ¼ mile away. This is on the Newport to Ryde route (Southern Vectis). Join bridleway just after church that leads to reserve entrance.

On foot: The down is south west of Newport, not far off the A3056. The reserve itself can be accessed on foot from several directions.

  • From the west at SZ 533 874. This kissing gate (only) is accessible for mobility buggies with the use of a RADAR key, the parking here however is very limited to the southern side of the old chalk pit entrance.
  • There is a stile further down Downend road this is not recommended as the road here is narrow with no footpath and fast traffic!
  • From the south of the down a footpath is located in the village of Arreton, beginning by the White Lion pub. There is parking opposite the pub at approx SZ 534 866. This route passes the old church and manor then gently climbs through fields to a kissing wicket at the foot of the down.
  • From the south east, a footpath leaves the village crossing the Bembridge trail and enters the reserve at approx SZ 540 870.
  • From the north, just off the downs road, there is another kissing wicket at approx SZ 541 872. 


Nearby nature reserves

Martin's Wood
2 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Knighton Down
3 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Eaglehead and Bloodstone Copses
3 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Arreton Village
Isle of Wight
Please see 'Getting to Arreton Down'
Map reference
SZ 538 871
Great for...
spring flowers
stunning views
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
19.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
* The reserve is 19 hectares in size * The unsurfaced paths and tracks can be uneven, but are usually dry. * Steep slopes lead up onto the down. * One gate has a RADAR lock for wheelchairs/buggies to access on western reserve entrance. There is either a kissing gate or a stile at other entrances.
Walking information
No surfaced paths, relatively level walk along the top of the down, the rest of the area is steep with uneven ground and chalk pits potentially slippery when wet.
Park at bottom of the down in Arreton village, near reserve entrance. The nearest car park is the village car park next to White Lion pub on the A3020, at PO30 3AA.
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Jamie Marsh - Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife trust
Tel: 01983 760 018