Isle of Wight Downland Gallery
The Isle of Wight has a chalk downland backbone that runs from east to west, much of which is owned by The National Trust. The rich, green grasslands play host to a vast range of wildlife, such as buzzards, foxes, rabbits, lizards, insects and birds. Footpaths and Mountain bike tracks “criss-cross” the downland and the views are stunning, looking out across the Island on both sides, with views of the Mainland and Solent to the north and the English Channel and shipping lanes to the south. The downs have hidden away forts which were built by Gladstone to protect The Solent from possible invasion from the French and these can be clearly seen on top of Bembridge and Tennyson Down. The latter – Needles Battery, was used until the 1960’s as a test launch site for the Black Knight Rocket, which paved the way for Space Travel and modern day jet engines.