Last week we were sat on Sandown beach in something approaching sunshine when I was confidently telling my wife that we never came to the East Wight as children. We were constantly at Compton Bay, I said. A few hours later, I was clearing out the attic and discovered a Primary School diary where I recounted my weekend activities for my apparently interested teacher, including a mention of a trip to Sandown which was given such a casual mention that I’d suggest it happened regularly.
You see, I seem to have forgotten most of my childhood. It was perfectly pleasant, perhaps even idyllic, so it’s certainly not repressed memories just good old fashioned forgetfulness.
And so, I was a little more tentative this week when I declared to my wife that I’d like to go to the beach at Seaview because I had no memory of going there and couldn’t picture what it looked like. We certainly went to nearby Seagrove Bay regularly, but not the section on Duver Road.
We arrived at very low tide and found the beach pretty much empty, despite it being a fairly sunny day. We could have chosen from several free parking spaces right by the beach, which is a glorious sign for a cheapskate like me. Three boys were playing cricket and generally larking, but there was no-one else in sight.
If you’ve been to nearby Appley, St Helens or Priory Bay you’ll be familiar with the ankle deep water which means that proper swimming is difficult but opens up options like tame paddling, beach games and kayaking for beginners. You’ll also be familiar with the risk of it feeling pretty breezy on the wide open beaches.
The small bit of beach near to the road was lovely and sandy, whilst the bit which is underwater at high tide was a mix of sand and a zillion shells.
We tried to do some rockpooling but I think even my 3 year old could tell I wasn’t impressed with the small selection of sea creatures I found and attempted to present with enthusiasm (try Bembridge for rockpooling).
It’s also not a beach for those who are looking for amusement arcades, mini golf, ice cream stands, trampolines, playgrounds, kayak hire or anything other than a nice view of the Solent and plenty of space for running around at low tide (try Shanklin, Sandown or Appley for those things).
In my view it’s also not as pretty as several beaches which lack facilities but which have fantastic backdrops (Priory Bay, Compton Bay, Whitecliff Bay and others). Instead, the backdrop is a selection of expensive houses which I found I was coveting rather.
It might sound like I didn’t like Seaview, but I did and it is certainly worth considering if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet at an easy to access beach in the East Wight. It's also got a nice pub with a seaview (The Boathouse).
And that’s the remarkable thing about the Isle of Wight – a beach which would be frantically busy in most other English counties can be practically deserted on a sunny day simply because it is competing with twenty other beaches within easy reach.
By the way – my mother says she’s sure we must have been to Seaview before.
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