Go Wild on Wight

IWBOA: Western Central Ridge

Western Central Ridge

This map is based on Ordnance Survey material with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office Crown copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. 100019229 2008.

LegendClick here for pdf map

Opportunity area description

The Needles headland and Headon Warren as far east as Freshwater Bay, where the chalk is breached by the Western Yar valley. Afton Down eastwards to Carisbrooke Castle, including Compton, Brook and Mottistone Downs and Brighstone Forest, an area of secondary woodland.

Joint Character Area/Landscape descriptive unit

IW Joint Character Area: principally chalk downs but some elements of sandstone hill gravel ridges, and northern coastal cliffs.

Landscape types

Rolling chalk downland with northern slopes well-wooded, giving way to pasture land. Lower sandstone hills giving way to arable fields to the south.

Geology (bedrock)

Chalk with some areas of ferruginous sands to the south, and clay silt and sand to the north at the base of the slopes.

Geology (superficial)

Clay with flints on the chalk.

Topography (landform)

Stacks at The Needles and sheer chalk cliffs west of Freshwater Bay. The ridge runs west-east across the Island with shallow valleys (Western Yar, Chessell, Rowridge, and Bowcombe) running north-south.

Biodiversity ( BAP habitat, Designated sites UK BAP Species)

SSSIs : Headon Warren and West High Down, Compton Down, Mottistone Down, Calbourne Down, Rowridge Valley, Garston’s Down

SINCs: Moon’s Hill, Freshwater Bay Cliffs, Shalcombe Down, Brook House Wood, Brighstone Forest, Grammar’s Common, Row Down, Buddle Brook, Limerstone Down, Calbourne Pumping Station, Newbarn Down, Westover Copse, Little Down, High Wood, Round Copse, Apsedown Copse, Top Barn Copse, Idlecombe Down, Idlecombe Farm Down, Bowcombe Wood, Dukem Copse, Westridge Copse, Lorden Copse, Mount Ararat, Barcham’s Copse, Plaish Copse, Plaish Meadows, Carisbrooke Castle, Mount Joy.

BAP habitat

UK BAP Species

Early gentian; Wood calamint; Scrambled egg lichen; Duke of Burgundy fritillary; Grayling; Small blue; Grizzled Skipper; Dingy Skipper.


Tennyson Trail runs along the length of this area.

Targets – main opportunities

| home | partnership | habitats | species | biodiversity opportunity areas | benefits of biodiversity |
biodiversity & you | advice | walks & events | library | contact |