Things to do - beaches
Things to do in the Ryde area - beaches
The beaches in the Ryde area give you some wonderful places to enjoy the sea at its best. Ryde's award winning beach stretches a fabulous six miles, with the main beach running from the Western gardens to the entrance to Puckpool. The beach is a vast expanse of sand with safe swimming as the slope from the shore is very shallow. The beach is patrolled by Lifeguards during the summer months, and also benefits from an Inshore Rescue station.
During the year on windy days the beach is a perfect place to fly kites, and is extremely popular with surfers, kite surfers, wind surfers and the occasional land yacht!
Ryde also holds regular beach soccer games during the summer, as well as a Rowing Regatta by Appley beach, from the well established Ryde Rowing Club which was founded in 1877.
If you follow the sea wall eastwards along Ryde and walk past the Appley Folly, you come to Puckpool beach which is popular with families. Here you will see traditional beach huts dotted along the seawall and parts of Puckpool Park.
The sea goes out a long way here, but you must be careful when the tide starts to come in that you don't get stuck on one of the offshore sand bars that are visible at low tide. A little way along from Puckpool you will come to Springvale beach to the east of Ryde.
This is a lovely sand and pebble beach with fabulous views of the Solent and Palmerston's Follies, more correctly known as The Palmerston Forts. These are a group of forts and associated structures built during the Victorian period on the recommendations of the "Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom". The name comes from their association with "Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston" Lord Palmerston, who was Prime Minister at the time and promoted the idea.
The structures were built as a response to a perceived threat of a French invasion, although by the time they were completed the threat (if it had ever existed) had passed. As well as new structures, extensive modifications were made to existing defences.
Just along from Springvale is Seaview which has a rocky beach which is perfect for rock pooling, crabbing and shrimping and a further walk along the coast will take you to Seagrove Bay. This is a quiet shingle bay, with a shallow slope making it a safe place to swim, and at low tide you can go rock pooling. This bay was made famous during the 1960's by the BBC who filmed an episode of Dr Who here. The boat that John Pertwee sailed on to the beach in this episode was the Vera Lynn owned by Morris (Morri) Ockham, which is now sadly used as a flower planter at the western end of the Ryde Boating Lake.
If you decide to take the beach walk in a westerly direction you will need to make sure the tide is on the turn going outwards, as most of the bays are not accessible on foot.
The first place to investigate would be the pier at low tide. if you are walking towards the pier please note that the hovercraft has right of way!
Under the pier at low tide you will find a wonderful array of sea life, including sea anemones, spiny crabs, (these can only be found when the tide is at its lowest), shore crabs, peacock worms, guppies and soft corals. If you are really lucky when the tide is on the turn in the sea grass you will see pipe fish and sea horses.
When walking to the west of the pier, be aware of blue slipper clay in some areas. If you find the ground is springy turn around and retrace your steps as this could be blue slipper clay. Here you will find a mix of sand, slip clay and shingle at low tide. Many of the bays along this coast line are privately owned so please do not climb on the seawalls. If you do take a walk you can walk past the Ryde Golf course, and find Binstead Beach with Tacklers Boating Club. Further along the coast you can walk past the ruins of Quarr Abbey which were destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII. Just along from here is Fishbourne where the Wightlink car ferry moors. Here is the entrance to Wootton Creek, with a mixed sandy and shingle beach and some beautiful beach side properties. Also if you are lucky you will see ancient Roman remains between Quarr and Fishbourne at low tide, which are undergoing Archeological survey by the council Archeologist and Heritage groups.