Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Okay, I’m going to confess something now – I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight and neither has any of my intrepid band of rover reporters. But Jane discovered a little booklet called Pawprint, produced by Wightlink, the ferry company which serves the Isle of Wight, and in this little booklet are 12 dogs that either love living on or visiting the island. So Jane rang the people at Wightlink and asked if we could share these island tips with Phileas Phans and the people at Wightlink said yes.

This photograph is the main reason Jane wanted to share Pawprint with my readers – not hers. But I don’t mind. Seven-year-old Breez lives in a part of the island called West Wight and she is ferried around the country lanes in a customised sidecar on her owner Graham’s Vespa scooter. A dog’s life indeed – how much better is that than having to squeeze on to the smelly old number 12 bus in Peckham and be stared at in a none-too-friendly manner by a lot of dog haterz?

Photograph and copyright Lee Higham; Wightlink 2012

Here are Breez’s top tips for her patch, near the village of Freshwater on the island.

‘In the summer I love swimming in the sea at Whale Chine. It’s quiet there and we often have the beach to ourselves. Another favourite is Fort Victoria Country Park where the coastal walk through the woods provides inquisitive dogs like me with lots to sniff out. The Fort has large cannons which I like to jump over and if you visit you can check out the model of me sitting in the sidecar of Graham’s scooter at the Model Railway.’

Three-year-old Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Daisy-May also lives on the Isle of Wight and Daisy-May runs a hotel, along with the occasional assistance of her humans, Mary, Kim and Cam. Daisy-May barks: ‘I love meeting the dogs that come to my guest house as long as they remember I’m top dog.’

Photograph and copyright Lee Higham; published by Wightlink

  • Daisy-May’s hotel is called Heatherleigh Guest House. It is at 17 Queens Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight,  PO37 6AW. Tel: 01983 862503. Website: www.heatherleigh.co.uk. Prices start at £32 pppn.
  • Her favourite walks around Shanklin are the south end of the beach by the Fisherman’s Cottage and the low tide walk from Fisherman’s Cottage to Luccombe beach. ‘I like paddling in the shallow water up to my chest,’ she barks.

The top ten pubs in the Isle of Wight, as selected by the pups and pooches of Pawprint are:

  • The Crab & Lobster Inn, Bembridge (crabandlobsterinn.co.uk/01983 872244). This dog-friendly establishment topped the Pawprint dog poll and is located above the beach at Bembridge Ledge.  Dogs are welcome in the bar and eating areas.
  •  Crown Inn, Shorwell (crowninnshorwell.co.uk/01983 740293).  Recommended by Spice, dogs are welcome in the inn and outside in its picturesque garden.
  • Culver Haven Inn, Culver Down (01983 406107).  Chosen by photographer’s dog Noah because of their specially cooked sausages for dogs, this cliff top pub has spectacular views to the mainland
  • Driftwood Beach Bar, Sandown (driftwoodbeachbar.com/01983 404004).  Surfer dog Sherrie and owner Pauline paddle their kayak to this beach bar.  Open from March for the summer season.
  • Fisherman’s Cottage, Shanklin (01983 297171). Recommended by locals Daisy-May and Sherrie, this historic thatched pub is on the beach below Shanklin Chine.  Open May-October.
  • Folly Inn, Whippingham (folly-inn-east-cowes.co.uk/01983 297171).  Just up river from Cowes in Whippingham, this riverside inn is a favourite of both Daisy-May and Foxy.
  • The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor (thespyglass.com/01983 855338) was another Pawprint Poll favourite, located just above the beach on Ventnor seafront.
  •  The Steamer Inn, Shanklin (thesteamer.co.uk/01983 862641).  A Foxy favourite, this seafront pub welcomes dogs on a lead and provides two water bowls for light refreshment.
  •  The Sun Inn, Hulverstone (sun-hulverstone.com/01983 741124).  A second nomination from Noah, this character pub near Brook Chine provides biscuits for good dogs in the bar and garden.
  • The Wight Mouse Inn, Chale (wightmouse.co.uk/01983 730431).  Spice and Foxy both enjoy the huge garden of this south Wight pub.

Phileas Fact Box: Isle of Wight

  • Dogs travel FREE on Wightlink ferries. Log on to www.wightlink.co.uk. Foot passenger fares start from £12.50 for a day return and car ferry fares start from £36 for a day return for a car and four passengers. I, Phileas Dogg, very much hope to visit the Isle of Wight some time soon so that I can sniff bottoms with Breez and Daisy-May. Grrrrr-huzzah!
  • (If you’d like a copy of Pawprint, log on to wightlink.co.uk and the people there will send you and your owners one.)