When I die, I’d like a good sturdy bench to be constructed with my name on it, rather than a gravestone. Not only is a bench much more comfortable for sitting on than a gravestone, they also tend to be placed in gorgeous places so my numerous offspring could sit and admire the view whilst discussing how great I was. I think they’re more inclined to return regularly if its an attractive viewpoint than if it’s a county council graveyard.
There are many contenders for the Isle of Wight’s best bench (Freshwater Bay has so many benches it looks like a football stadium) but I think I’ve found my favourite. The bench itself is nothing special – in fact, it doesn’t even have a back – but the location, location, location is perfect.
The bench in question is at the highpoint of the Military Road, between Freshwater Bay and Compton Farm. There’s a tiny layby nearby with enough space for two cars, ensuring that you won’t be sharing the bench with too many people.
To your right you can see Freshwater Bay with its white cliffs and creepy caves. To your left, you can see for several miles towards Hanover Point and Blackgang Chine. I can even see the spot where I proposed to my wife – what a romantic eh?
And out to sea you can see nothing. Nothing for miles and miles and miles. Apart from perhaps a couple of container ships and the curvature of the earth. Normally I prefer to see ships coming and going, which is what you get on the north of the Isle of Wight, but on this occasion I prefer the quiet and empty vastness of it all.
So we sat with a box of flapjack and half a can of Morrison’s Saver Lager (I felt half a can of 2% lager would be best as we needed to drive home).
The sun even shone for a bit, briefly.
See our guide for more Isle of Wight car park viewpoints
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