Blackgang Viewpoint is situated on A3055 Blackgang Road and offers stunning cliff top views of Tennyson Heritage Coast, West Wight and on a clear day, Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It is an ideal place to explore wonderful countryside and join the English Coastal Path, which is soon to transect it.
We have recently enhanced the site by adding a new picnic area within a quarry and by next spring the vegetation will have recovered from the groundworks and this will be a real asset. We have coppiced some of the woodland on the quarry slopes to allow more light to reach the ground – and encourage the growth of ground flora. We have also removed vegetation and exposed the rock in the area surrounding the overflow car park. This has created a rarer more dynamic habitat. We have added new interpretation including an activity pillar – but you can also download activities and walks prior to your visit by clicking HERE. Look out for the wonderful sculpture by local artist Glenn Martin that reflects the natural history of the area and made from reclaimed sea glass. As the best views are from the elevated grass bank, we have added a wheelchair ramp and for people with sight impairment there is now an audio guide. This can also be accessed HERE.
A short but brisk uphill walk will lead to St Catherine’s Oratory, or as it is known locally, ‘The Pepperpot’. It also offers fantastic views and is worth the walk. The other side of the car park leads to one of the Isle of Wight’s most scenic coastal paths which runs along the top of Gore Cliff. It provides views of beaches, cliff faces and an aerial view of St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, which is also accessible from the Coastal Path. The coastal grassland around this site is brimming with birds, butterflies and late summer flowers. To encourage you to explore the wonderful countryside we have designed four walking and two cycling trails. Click HERE for these.
All our recent upgrades have been made possible by grant funding from the Postcode Society Trust, which is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We are very grateful for this support.
Blackgang Viewpoint and the land surrounding it are all part of the Compton Chine to Steephill Cove Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has been designated thus because of its geology, geomorphology, flora, fauna and fossils.
Our site and its immediate surrounds are excellent for spotting birds and butterflies and there is a riot of colour in the coastal grasslands. Looking slightly further you can spot cliffs and chines and off shore rocks. For more about the Natural History of the site and surrounding countryside CLICK HERE
The quarry in which Blackgang Viewpoint stands is not old, it was dug in the 1930s to provide material for the road on which you enter the site. The old Undercliff road was one of the most picturesque on the Island but was destroyed by a landslip.
Although now isolated, the area around this site has evidence of ancient human activity. Bronze age round barrows were excavated in the 1920’s and when the road was built further evidence of bronze age activity was found.
Today when you look to sea from Blackgang Viewpoint there is very little shipping to be seen except the occasional tanker, bulk carrier or ferry all way offshore. But in centuries past, this wasn’t the case. The coastal waters were really busy and inevitably there were many wrecks. There are also many stories of heroic rescues and from the Viewpoint you can spot some of the coastguard cottages. CLICK HERE for more about the built history of the site.
Finally to get a feel for the site and it’s surrounding, please watch our short film.
How to get there
By car / bike: Blackgang viewpoint is located on the A3055 Blackgang Road. The site can be also be accessed by car & bike. Ventnor, PO38 2JB
Public Transport: public transport access is good. Buses are available from the Viewpoint Car Park Stop (Route 6) outside the site entrance.(Bus Timetables)
On foot: There are a number of footpaths including the Coastal Path that converge on or near the site.
What to look for
Walking along the coastal paths on the Gore cliff is an ideal spot for viewing peregrine falcons gliding amongst the jagged rock edges. The birds nest, breed and hunt prey amongst the cliff faces. From the car park, individual or smaller groups of buzzards can often be seen towering and circling the area, scanning for rodents, rabbits and other small prey which they are able to feast on. Rooks are often seen in and around the car park. They nest in the trees growing below the car park. There is a picture board on site which provides an illustrated image of the car park’s view. The image provides details & descriptions of what can be seen from this point.