Heritage Coasts

Heritage Coasts represent stretches of our most beautiful, undeveloped coastline, which are managed to conserve their natural beauty and, where appropriate, to improve accessibility for visitors.

In 1974 two areas of Heritage Coast were defined on the Isle of Wight, covering half the Island’s coastline. In 1992, the decision was taken to incorporate issues relating to Heritage Coasts and the AONB into one overall Isle of Wight AONB Management Plan.


The Hamstead Heritage Coast is situated on the north west of the Isle of Wight running from Thorness near Cowes to Bouldnor near Yarmouth. A tranquil and secretive coastline with inlets, estuaries and creeks; wooded hinterland and gently sloping soft cliffs, this beautiful area offers a haven for wildlife including Red Squirrels and migratory birds. The ancient town of Newtown and its National Nature Reserve also fall within this area.


In marked contrast, the Tennyson Heritage Coast is breathtaking, with an open aspect; long distance views to the English Channel; a special quality of light; the iconic Needles chalk stacks and other multi-coloured cliffs; a fossil rich coastline including the well known dinosaur footprints at Brook Bay; miles of undeveloped coastline and unspoilt beaches; important wildlife habitats; smugglers and memories of past Islanders; Chines and lighthouses.

Heritage Coasts information leaflet and guide

Download the legacy PDF leaflet with an illustrated map of Hamstead and Tennyson Heritage Coasts (opens in a new window).