Stunning cycling across Bicycle Island
The Red Squirrel Trail, 32 miles of mostly traffic-free cycling through the heart of the Isle of Wight’s beautiful countryside. The trail takes in estuaries, woodland, farmland, downland, and a stretch of the Island’s fantastic coastline.
The trail makes an ideal two or three day cycling tour taking time to take in the wildlife along the way and visit some of the many attractions, cafes and restaurants along and nearby the trail.
Alternatively you can easily cycle a shorter section of it for a great day or half-day out. Many people start at Shanklin and cycle a route that takes them through Wroxall, Merstone and Sandown. Its 14 miles and relatively easy for families. Have a look at this super video for inspiration!
No bike? No problem there are lots of places you can hire one.
This site will help you get the most out of the trail. We have printer friendly maps, downloadable GPS tracks of the route and lots of information on what you might see along the way and places you can visit.
The route is named the Red Squirrel Trail in celebration of one of the Isle of Wight’s most iconic species, the native Red Squirrel. Eradicated from the mainland of southern England and much of the rest of the UK, the Isle of Wight is one of the last few strongholds of our native Red Squirrel. But squirrels aren’t all you’ll spot, the route is teaming with wildlife and we think getting on your bike is one of the best ways to experience the Island’s fantastic natural environment.
The Trail runs from East Cowes, across the Cowes Chain Ferry (or floating bridge) to Cowes, then follows the old railway line to the Island’s county town, Newport. Following a mostly off-road route through Newport alongside the river Medina the trail then joins another old railway line, which it follows all the way to Sandown on the coast. The trail then follows minor roads to the esplanade, where you can enjoy a flat ride along the seafront for just under 2 miles alongside some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the country. A short on-road section through Shanklin brings you to another rail-trail section to Wroxall, the start of the Sunshine Loop, so named because this area receives among the highest number of sunshine hours of any location in the country. From Wroxall you cycle through countryside near Appuldurcombe House and along a series of bridleways under you re-join the railway line at Merstone.
If you are going to cycle on the Red Squirrel Trail then why not register with PedalAid. The downloadable app app allows you to raise money for charity while you ride. Every kilometre you ride along the designated routes releases money for the nominated charity. Each month there is a Charity Challenge with an overall distance target and if the target is reached the donation per km is doubled. PedalAid has supported the improved facilities at Merstone Station.
New in 2020
With the support of Isle of Wight Council we added more maps to this website so you are now able to:
- Cycle the East Wight in a loop from Newport. The new East Wight Explorer takes in some stunning coastal scenery as well the beautiful water meadows of the East Yar River.
- Join the Red Squirrel Trail from Ryde – handy if you live nearer to Portsmouth than Southampton.
Additionally we have added six cycle rides that can be accessed from Merstone Station. These are of varying degrees of difficulty and allow cyclists to experience the quieter (and often muddier!) Rights of Way in a relatively unexplored area of the Island.
If you have problems or need to find more information!
We really hope you do not have any problems with the Red Squirrel Trail. However of you do, please look under the ABOUT tab for Help. This will tell you who to contact. There is also a bike hire page. We are Natural Enterprise, a local charity and we maintain this website. You are most welcome to call us on the number below, but we are not responsible for closures of the track or its maintenance, so we may not be able to answer your query.