A gentle ride along the riverside
At the Newport end of this section you’ll follow the course of the River Medina, criss-crossing the many streams that flow into the river. The route follows the old railway line between Newport and Sandown providing level, largely traffic-free cycling. A short section of the route just after Birchmore pond is also a private road so you might meet the occasional car along here. At Merstone you’ll find the remains of Merstone Station, where the Island platform is still in place but has been overtaken by nature and is now a wildflower meadow. Gift to Nature have installed picnic benches here so you can enjoy a stop for lunch. (Mileage is from Newport Quay to Merstone).
If you feel like exploring the area a little further, Gift to Nature and the Isle of Wight Council have put together a series of six cycling routes that start from Merstone Station. These allow cyclists to travel on less used rights of ways in a peaceful part of the Island. The routes are for differing abilities and energy levels, and a map can be downloaded here or from the board at the station.
Wildlife on this section
Along this section of the trail you’ll see “Stop, Look and Listen” signs which feature all sorts of wildlife you might see or hear near each sign or elsewhere along the trail. You can spot all sorts from the track, from butterflies to birds of prey
As you progress the trail meanders through farmland with a mosaic of habitats including field margins, small ponds and woodland. Agriculture is very important to the Island and this area has some of its most fertile land. Careful management allows farmers to grow high quality crops but also allow space for wildlife. The old railway line you’re following also forms a valuable corridor habitat, linking together blocks of woodland in the surrounding farms.
Gift to Nature Sites
Gift to Nature has nature reserves at Pan Mill Meadows (just south of Matalan) and Merstone Station. We have also undertaken conservation work at various points along the track, including Birchmore Pond, which a local farmer has opened up to the public.