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Brading & Bembridge Marsh and Down Walk

End: Brading Station car park, grid ref: SZ609869 Downland Wildlife: Ravens nest on the cliffs along with peregrine falcons and sea birds. Ravens are members of the crow family and are often heard before they are seen, thanks to their distinctive hoarse call ‘cronk! cronk!’. Hardy black Hebridean sheep graze Culver Down in winter, preferring tough brambles and coarse grass to more tender chalk grassland flowers; look out for rock rose, bee orchid and birdsfoot trefoil in the shorter turf. Spring brings pretty cowslip displays and bush crickets, grasshoppers and chalkhill blue butterflies can be spotted in summer.   The marbled white is an attractive butterfly with distinctive markings that make it easy to identify. The chalk grassland at Bembridge provides a great habitat for these butterflies, but they can also be found in woodland clearings, coastal grassland and brownfield sites. Culber Beacon Battery:Beacons like the one on Culver Down were part of a medieval warning system and were updated prior to the Spanish Armada. A chain of beacons stretched across the Island, passing messages to and from the mainland. Built in 1893, Culver Battery was part of a series of forts and batteries guarding the Solent approaches from attack by the French. Bembridge Windmill: Bembridge Windmill is an early 18th-century wooden cap mill. Last used in 1913 and built of local limestone, it is the only surviving windmill on the Island. Used by the Home Guard as a look-out post in the Second World War, it was then restored by us from a near derelict state using much of the original wooden machinery.

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 7 miles (11km)
  • Time: 3 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 196; Explorer OL29
  • Terrain:Circular walk with an ascent of 500ft (150m). Many gates and stiles, path crosses active railway line and runway. Watch out for ex-military features. Seats at viewpoints. Dogs are welcome, but please keep your dog on a lead around wildlife and take any mess home with you.
  • How to get here:  By foot: This trail follows the Isle of Wight coastal path between points 4 and 5 on the map By bike: ‘Round the Island’Sustrans regional route 67 passes 0.5 miles from the start at Brading Station By bus: Southern Vectis No. 2 and 3 services from Newport, Ryde and Sandown pass along Brading High Street (01983 827000) half-hourly By train: Half-hourly Island Lineservice between Ryde – Shanklin stops at Brading Station (0845 6000 650). Links to Portsmouth via fast catamaran By ferry: Fishbourne-Portsmouth (Wightlink, tel: 0871 376 1000) 10 miles (16km); East Cowes-Southampton (Red Funnel, tel: 0844 844 9988) 13 miles (21km) By car: Brading Station is on Station Road just south of Brading centre, off the A3055 which links Ryde and Sandown
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