6 secret hidden places on the Isle of Wight

Retrace smugglers' steps on an adventurous trip around Freshwater's hidden caves

Retrace smugglers' steps on an adventurous trip around Freshwater's hidden caves - Credit: Patrick Condy

Growing up in a small rural area in Scotland, photographer Patrick Condy immediately felt at home amongst the picturesque scenery of the Isle of Wight when he moved here four and a half years ago.

Always offering up sensational views, and providing Patrick with the inspiration for his photography that rivalled his home town, the island never disappoints when it comes to natural beauty. As the ferries fill up and tourism erupts on the Isle of Wight this summer, Patrick takes us off to his secret spots, far from the madding crowd, to show off the viewpoints that only the Islander’s know and appreciate.  

St Catherine's Oratory is known by locals as St Catherine's Pepper Pot

St Catherine's Oratory is known by locals as St Catherine's Pepper Pot - Credit: Patrick Condy

St Catherine's Oratory 
St Catherine’s Oratory, also well known locally as St Catherine’s Pepper Pot, offers 360-degree views across the Isle of Wight as well as looking out into the blue of the English Channel. 
Completed in 1328 the Pepper Pot has an interesting history, with its origins based on a shipwreck, a disagreement, and the Church of England, all of which is explained at the site. 
A short uphill walk from the carpark makes this excellent viewpoint a great value destination on the south side of the island. Sat Nav: PO38 2JB

For an islander's view of The Needles, head to Patrick's secret spot 

For an islander's view of The Needles, head to Patrick's secret spot - Credit: Patrick Condy

Headon Warren 
Headon Warren is the lesser known but far superior viewpoint to The Needles, on the western end of the Isle of Wight. Not only is there no tussle for a small glimpse of the landmark from a lesser angle at the official and more popular viewpoint above Alum Bay, but the Warren also offers panoramic views down through the Solent. This spot among locals is known as the best place to sit amongst the heather and take in the beautiful sunset. Sat Nav: PO39 0EH 

The caves at Freshwater only become visible at low tide

The caves at Freshwater only become visible at low tide - Credit: Patrick Condy

Freshwater Bay Caves 
For the more adventurous, the caves at Freshwater Bay are a special and unique place to visit. Only accessible at very low tides, these wonderful cavities formed into the cliffs of the rugged south side transport you to another world. A scramble around the western end of Freshwater Bay will bring you into the caves and round towards the secret beach, complete with original smugglers tunnels. A true adventure awaits, but don’t hang around for too long as Mother Nature waits for no one and when the tide turns it comes in fast so don’t get caught out and make sure you confirm your exit time before you start your trip. Sat Nav: PO40 9RA

Explore inlets galore at Newtown Creek

Explore inlets galore at Newtown Creek - Credit: Patrick Condy

Newtown Creek 
This beautiful national nature reserve is a place to enjoy the island in its most natural form. From seals to osprey, the creek is home to a huge variety of species, and is an excellent place to watch wildlife come and go. Accessible by boat (with overnight moorings available) or by foot on the impressive walkways, this is a great spot to take a moment and enjoy the peace and tranquillity the island is known for. With so many accessible waterways, this hidden area is a great place to explore by paddleboard as you can really blend into the quiet of these unique surroundings. Sat Nav: PO30 4PA

Enjoy some forest bathing in Firestone Copse

Enjoy some forest bathing in Firestone Copse - Credit: Patrick Condy

Firestone Copse 
If a slice of green is what you are after then this luscious woodland is for you. Looping, well-made paths offer a great place to explore along the picturesque riverside. The dense woodland is also popular among the young islanders as it has premium den building supplies and the drinks van in the carpark offers a well-earned teacake and coffee after exploring this tree utopia. Sat Nav: PO33 4ED

Experience a little slice of paradise on the intriguing Compton Beach

Experience a little slice of paradise on the intriguing Compton Beach - Credit: Patrick Condy

Compton Beach 
The island’s best kept secret is this wonderfully contrasting gold and red stone beach on the south side. Whether you prefer to hang 10 in the surf or enjoy a beach BBQ this stretch of soft sand offers it all. Find your spot, pitch your deckchairs and you would find it hard to believe you weren’t in Cornwall or even further afield. Compton Beach is also well known for its fossils, so any budding palaeontologists keep your eyes peeled and you might just discover your very own piece of history. Sat Nav: PO30 4HB

Find out more with 9 things you didn't know about the Isle of Wight: https://www.greatbritishlife.co.uk/travel/places-to-visit/9-facts-about-isle-of-wight-8267960