This enchanting creek on the Isle of Wight is a must-visit for nature lovers, says Peter Bruce
King’s Quay Creek, Isle of Wight – a must-visit for nature lovers
King’s Quay Creek is a delightful tiny drying inlet on the Isle of Wight between Wootton Creek and Osborne Bay. There is some uncertainty as to which monarch gave rise to its title, though King John seems the most likely. It is certain that Charles I landed here in 1647 but by then, the name was established. There is no quay anymore, but before silting up, King’s Quay Creek is thought to have been a small port. Not many mariners bother to stop here now and if they do, access by small boat is only possible at high water. Even then, there are off-putting notices saying ‘no landing’ and ‘no mooring’ and that the creek is a nature reserve. But a quiet visit on the top of the tide should not cause any affront – not that I have ever seen anyone else there in over 40 years – and the loveliness of this little paradise makes it one of the jewels of the Solent, certainly worthy of exploration.
There are no buildings in sight as you approach by dinghy towards the foliage-covered marshland surrounded by trees, called Curlews Copse and Steps Copse, which grows densely on either side. It is easy to see the way through the shingle banks, though you should bear in mind the variation in the offshore channels showing upon aerial photographs and be alert to further changes. Follow the passage between the marshland through what is called the Gutter and you will soon come to a bridge with an arrangement of scaffolding across the channel beside it, apparently designed to bar further progress. One is entitled to go where the sea level allows and most dinghies will be able to squeeze past the scaffolding and into the upper pool. This shallow pool is attractive and on a gentle summer’s day, feels marvellously peaceful. The pool is fed by a stream called Palmer’s Brook, which appears from the reed bank and leads south up to Woodhouse Copse. From there, it works its way through fields and woodland and rises towards the middle of the island by Hillgrove. Having once been to the diminutive King’s Quay Creek, nature lovers will not forget its soft beauty and splendid isolation, and may well want to return.
Access to King’s Quay Creek is only by small boat at high water