Freshwater Bay has been in my top five Isle of Wight beaches for a long time.
Over the years I've had many memorable visits, including pizza on the beach with Mrs Guru and a kayaking trip to Watcombe Bay with Isle of Wight Adventure Activities. Back in the day, we had a school field trip to the beach, which was one of the advantages of an Isle of Wight education.
We recently had relatives staying in Freshwater Bay and so managed a couple of visits over a weekend.
Freshwater Bay is really three different beaches, which is perhaps why I like it so much. A great big slab of sand is nice on the right day but there's a Famous Five quality about somewhere you can explore.
The first visit was on a baking hot day when the water was flat as a pancake.
My brother had set up at the furthest point possible on the left hand side as you face the sea and I began trudging across the stones. Walking along here is far from easy and I made this point clear to my brother when I finally reached him.
After a few seconds, I conceded that it was a beautiful spot and we began clambering on the exposed rock bed.
It was low tide, so we were able to get round to the smugglers' caves and the beach which is hidden round the corner.
This part of the beach is really appealing on the right day but it's worth noting that it can be dangerous so it's best to visit with someone who knows what they are doing. The tides rise quickly over the flat rock bed and you really wouldn't want to be stranded with the waves crashing into the caves. For that reason, a lot of people visit it on a still day with a paddle board or a kayak.
I wore wetsuit boots which made it relatively easy whilst my brother tentatively walked in bare feet and didn't make it as far as the beach. I resisted giving him a lecture about bringing the right footwear to the beach as I felt the spiky rocks had punished him enough.
Our second visit to Freshwater Bay that weekend was to the section round to the right which is really good at a low tide. On our most recent visit we found that it was much less windy than the main beach which was getting a real battering and didn't look at all appealing.
We wandered round to find the rock pools, a miniscule amount of sand and lots of spiky rocks. We had a quick swim but you'll need something on your feet for this one or you'll end up swearing like a chef.
The only section of Freshwater Bay that we didn't visit on this occasion was the main chunk of beach in front of you as you sit on the Esplanade. This section is probably best for a swim as it's least rocky but it's the least interesting from an exploring point of view.
The other advantage of this bit from my point of view is that dogs aren't allowed on this bit in the summer. Apologies to dog lovers but it's nice to know that your picnic isn't about to be stolen if you don't have a dog of your own.
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