List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest on the Isle of Wight

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The Needles, part of Headon Warren And West High Down SSSI

This is a list of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) on the Isle of Wight, England. The Isle of Wight is an island and county three miles off the south coast of England in the English Channel. Its geology is complex, with a chalk downland ridge running east to west through its centre and important fossil beds from the Lower Cretaceous to the Lower Tertiary around the coast.[1] This geology gives rise to many distinct habitats, with strong maritime influences, including chalk grassland, neutral meadows, and broad-leaved woodland.[1] The Isle of Wight has a population of 140,000, making it one of the country's smaller counties in terms of population.[2]

In England, the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features.[3] Natural England took over the role of designating and managing SSSIs from English Nature in October 2006, when it was formed from the amalgamation of English Nature, parts of the Countryside Agency, and the Rural Development Service. As of 2008, there are 41 sites designated in this Area of Search; of these, 26 have been designated for their biological interest, 4 for their geological interest, and 11 for both.[4]

The data in the table is taken from citation sheets for each SSSI, available at their website.[5]


Site name Reason for designation Area[A] Grid reference[B] Year in which notified Map[C]
Biological interest Geological interest Hectares Acres
Alverstone Marshes Green tickY 83.8 207.0 SZ572859 1951  Map 
America Wood Green tickY 21.4 52.9 SZ567820 1986  Map 
Arreton Down [D] Green tickY 29.8 73.6 SZ540872 1979  Map 
Bembridge Down Green tickY Green tickY 56.3 139.0 SZ628856 1951  Map 
Bembridge School And Cliffs Green tickY 12.6 31.1 ST647869 1999  Map 
Bonchurch Landslips Green tickY Green tickY 28.2 69.7 SZ582785 1977  Map 
Bouldnor And Hamstead Cliffs Green tickY Green tickY 95.7 236.4 SZ390910 1951  Map 
Brading Marshes to St. Helen's Ledges Green tickY Green tickY 488.5 1,207.0 SZ635883 1951[E]  Map 
Briddlesford Copses Green tickY 167.2 413.2 SZ549904 2003  Map 
Calbourne Down Green tickY 15.4 38.1 SZ429858 1989  Map 
Colwell Bay Green tickY 13.6 34.2 SZ323873 1959  Map 
Compton Chine to Steephill Cove Green tickY Green tickY 629.2 1,554.8 SZ489763 2003  Map 
Compton Down Green tickY Green tickY 196.3 484.9 SZ365856 1951  Map 
Cranmore Green tickY 12.4 30.7 SZ393901 2002  Map 
Cridmore Bog Green tickY 14.4 35.6 SZ495815 1985  Map 
Eaglehead and Bloodstone Copses Green tickY 10.3 25.5 SZ584877 1987  Map 
Freshwater Marshes Green tickY 23.3 57.6 SZ344866 1951  Map 
Garston's Down Green tickY 20.3 50.2 SZ475855 1971  Map 
Greatwood And Cliff Copses Green tickY 16.3 40.3 SZ5680SZ5780 1986  Map 
Headon Warren And West High Down Green tickY Green tickY 276.3 682.6 SZ316852 1951  Map 
King's Quay Shore Green tickY Green tickY 97.2 240.1 SZ536935 1951  Map 
Lacey's Farm Quarry Green tickY 0.1 0.3 SZ323862 1993  Map 
Lake Allotments Green tickY 0.2 0.5 SZ586838 1988  Map 
Locks Farm Meadow Green tickY 2.3 5.7 SZ449908 1988  Map 
Medina Estuary Green tickY 100.5 248.3 SZ508924 1977  Map 
Mottistone Down Green tickY 31.4 77.6 SZ414846 1971  Map 
Newtown Harbour[F] Green tickY 619.3 1,530.3 SZ425915 1951  Map 
Northpark Copse Green tickY 9.9 24.5 SZ435885 1986  Map 
Parkhurst Forest Green tickY 183.5 453.3 SZ473915 1986  Map 
Priory Woods Green tickY 2.9 7.3 SZ635900 1998  Map 
Prospect Quarry Green tickY Green tickY 4.3 10.6 SZ385866 1971  Map 
Rew Down Green tickY 23.5 58.1 SZ550775 1977  Map 
Rowridge Valley Green tickY 39.8 98.3 SZ454864 1951  Map 
Ryde Sands and Wootton Creek Green tickY 424.4 1,048.7 SZ548920SZ634908 1993  Map 
Shide Quarry Green tickY 4.8 11.8 SZ506881 1971  Map 
St Lawrence Bank Green tickY 0.5 1.2 SZ536768 1998  Map 
The Wilderness Green tickY 12.6 31.1 SZ505824 1951  Map 
Thorness Bay[G] Green tickY Green tickY 86.2 213.0 SZ455935 1966  Map 
Ventnor Downs Green tickY 162.6 401.8 SZ575786 1951  Map 
Whitecliff Bay And Bembridge Ledges Green tickY Green tickY 131.6 325.2 SZ657872 1955  Map 
Yar Estuary Green tickY 132.4 327.2 SZ353886 1977  Map 


A Data rounded to one decimal place.
B Grid reference is based on the British national grid reference system, also known as OSGB36, and is the system used by the Ordnance Survey.[6]
C Link to maps using the Nature on the Map service provided by English Nature.
D Arreton Down was originally notified as a geological SSSI, but was then renotified in 1987 for its biological interest only.[5]
E This site includes three former SSSIs known as St Helen’s Duver, Brading Marshes and St. Helen’s Ledges. They were notified in 1951, 1971 and 1977 respectively.[5]
F This also includes the former SSSI, Hart’s Farm Meadows which was designated in 1986.[5]
G This site was formerly known as Gurnard Ledge to Saltmead Ledge SSSI and was extended in 1987.[5]