Nick Baker's Isle of Wight Bike Tour
Wildlife-lover and TV presenter Nick Baker has a soft spot for the Isle of Wight, having spent idyllic childhood summer holidays here. In celebration of the Island’s new UNESCO Biosphere status, Wightlink invited Nick back on a nostalgic tour of his favourite haunts, with some new finds thrown in for good measure. Naturally, Nick opted for his favourite mode of transport: his trusty bike. Here’s what he got up to – with help from a few friendly locals…
Discerning explorers deserve to arrive in style, so Nick made his crossing aboard our newest vessel: Victoria of Wight.
Having landed on Island soil, Nick began by hopping on his bike and enjoying the hilltop views from the round-Island bike route, before seeking out the great green bush cricket, whose singing soundtracked his annual summer holidays.
“Take the Wightlink ferry over from Portsmouth to Fishbourne: it’s a super easy trip if you’re bringing your bike too,” Nick recommends. “From Fishbourne, head to Ryde, home to a lovely pier and a pretty beach; pause for golden-battered fish and chips on the sand. There’s plenty of prime cycling to be had: tick off the round-island route.”
Next up, he celebrated the Island’s new UNESCO Biosphere status by visiting Jamie at the Wildlife Trust in Newchurch, where he learned about the Trust’s exciting introduction of beavers, aka ‘nature’s great eco-engineer’.
Over on the south coast, Nick sought out Steven, the Project Officer with Forestry England, to hear about the successful reintroduction programme of the white-tailed eagle.
That night, Nick swapped his childhood campsites for a cosy hotel stay in Ventnor, where he rested up before the next day’s scenic bike ride along the south coast to Compton Bay. Here, he followed in prehistoric footsteps (an iguanodon’s, to be precise).
Furthest west on the Island, he admired the iconic Needles, then went red squirrel-spotting in peaceful woodlands. After the day’s adventures, he enjoyed some well-deserved liquid refreshment and a delicious dinner at the George Hotel in Yarmouth, before his Wightlink journey home.
“Don’t miss Yarmouth, which has an upscale, yachty feel. The George Hotel is a favourite, of course, and the lovely little town has a great harbour.