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.
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.
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
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 and advice about walking amongst cattle.