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]


  1. ^ a b "Isle of Wight Natural Area". Natural England. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  2. ^ "Population Statistics". National Statistics. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Notification of SSSIs". Natural England. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2006.
  4. ^ "SSSIs on the Isle of Wight". Natural England. Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e Natural England citation sheets for each SSSI (PDF files). Retrieved on 2006-07-07.
  6. ^ "Guide to National Grid". Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2006.