Arreton Tracks

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From the ancient village of Arreton (Adrintone in The Domesday Book, but with traces back to Roman occupation), follow the well-worn Old Highway (which once connected the old commercial centres of island trade at Newport on the Medina River and Brading Harbour), up to St George's Down and your first view of the island in all its variety and glory! The downs here have natural deposits of gravel laid down at the end of the last Ice Age and the works have provided material for many island building and industrial projects over centuries.
Now descend the old track through bluebell woods past Merstone Manor. Rebuilt in 1605 in the Jacobean style, Merstone Manor was first mentioned in the Domesday Book and the present structure is arguably the oldest brick house on the island. Beyond the manor and farm, the ancient track now meets another slightly more 'modern' one - the dismantled railway track that once carried the line from Newport through Merstone to Sandown. Only the trackbed (most of which originally came from the gravel-pits above), some bridges and the island platform at Merstone now remain of a once busy and picturesque rural byway.          

A brisk, flat walk now leads to one of the great island houses, Haseley Manor. A Grade II listed building, the present house is built on the site of a Saxon manor-house (though excavations suggest an original, much earlier Iron Age occupation). The original access to and egress from the site is now along an arrow-straight track leading up to the high chalk Arreton Down and another chance to view the island scenery. Along the way, look for rare Chalkhill Blue butterflies, skylarks, buzzards and many wildflowers not seen elsewhere, hence Arreton Down being designated an ASSI (Area of Special Scientific Interest).

A quick descent leads back to Arreton, with its ancient past. Arreton Manor has a history dating back to at least 872AD. This fact is recorded in the Domesday Book and was also noted in the will of King Alfred the Great in 885. The manor was owned by King Edward before the Norman Conquest.
   
The Church of St George was first begun in the Norman era and the monks of Quarr helped to extend it around 1160. A tower was added in 1299 and in the fourteenth century, a brass effigy of Harry Hawles, Steward of the Island, was added to the church's interior.

The village has two inns with a long history. The White Lion Inn has been in business for two centuries and was a staging inn on the road between Newport and Sandown (at one time, there was a Red Lion Inn nearby). The Arreton Barns Craft Village has a farmers' market selling local produce, as well as a pub called The Dairyman's Daughter, named after a best-selling book about a girl (Elizabeth Wallbridge) from Arreton by Rev Legh Richmond (1772-1827).

England - South England - Isle of Wight - Countryside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Museum, National Trust, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Stately Home, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
18/04/2016 - Richard Nash

Walked yesterday - no significant changes to add. (author)

15/10/2011 - Melvin Cammack

Walked on 14/10/11, very enjoyable - everything OK.

27/06/2011 - Richard Nash

Walked today - no significant changes (author).

27/04/2010 - Adrian Perkins

Roy Davenport reports that he did this walk on 20/4/10 and all was OK. Thanks for this Roy. Adrian (Admin)

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