Castle Haven

Castlehaven Village Green

Castlehaven is a small hamlet at the foot of Niton Undercliff . It has a harbour and Village Green. It is within the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and part of the Compton Chine to Steephill Cove Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Gift to Nature manage Castlehaven Village Green on behalf of Niton and Whitwell Parish Council. The site has spectacular views into the channel, and is a great place to blow away the cobwebs!

If you want to make a day of your trip, Castlehaven is part of the Niton Smugglers Trail Smugglers Trail which tells us:

Castlehaven once housed a small military outpost of volunteers, watching for French invaders during the Napoleonic Wars. The site has long gone, but the detachment would have been men with local knowledge who probably used their skills for other off-duty endeavours! The harbour was originally built for off – loading coal for use in the local community,  and the connecting bridleway, though steep, would have been a useful track for the discreet movement at night of other materials. In the early19th century, two of the Willis brothers of Niton found themselves on either side of the law, when one became a Mounted Customs Officer while the other, Jeremiah, was a smuggler. Late one night a Customs patrol stumbled upon a group of smugglers near the harbour. Anxious not to kill his brother, but still to be seen to do his duty, the Revenue Man fired his pistol into the air, dutifully missing Jeremiah. The smugglers then scattered – allowing all sides to preserve their honour and their dignity. Shortly after this event Jeremiah was captured by the French and held prisoner in Cherbourg and his family made penniless until his eventual release and return home to Niton. As a result of their penniless state, the family had to leave Herveys and move into cheaper accommodation in what is now Puckwell Cottage on Puckwell Lane.

How to get there

On foot/By bike – The new English Coastal Path will skirt the Village Green. Otherwise the site is reached via Castlehaven Lane. There are no cycle racks at present, but there are places to secure a bike.

By bus – Buddle Inn Stop (Routes 6) + 15 min steep walk via NT43 and Castlehaven Lane. (Bus Timetables)

By Car – There is limited parking at the site PO38 2ND for your sat nav but Castlehaven Lane is a very rough road and may not be suitable for all cars; or park in St Catherine’s Road near Buddle Inn and follow instructions above.

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The surface is amenity grass.  It can be wet particularly after a storm, and there may also be debris. There is a rock barrier which should not be climbed on. There is a seat. There are no nearby public toilets, the neaest ones being in Niton Village. The nearest toilets at the next door café, if during opening hours Castlehaven Caravan Site. There are also catering at the Buddle Inn The Buddle Inn (

What to look out for

The view!

Managing the site

The grass does not grow quickly here, but we have planted some bee-friendly shrubs. Niton & Whitwell Parish Council kindly pay us to manage this site.

Get Involved

There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on volunteers to help with many tasks on our sites and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Our shop raises money to support our work and needs a team of volunteers. Or maybe you would like to help us with events. Find out more here.

You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.