Above Compton Bay

The Mottistone Long Stone, a five-metre tall sandstone megalith on the downs above Compton Bay, has a second stone lying at its foot. The remaining outlines of the original New Stone Age tomb and grass mound are well defined on the downs above Compton Bay. The barrow is aligned with the summer solstice sunrise. There are several other burial mounds in this area of the Isle of Wight and the site of an Iron Age hill fort on a small hill to the south east.

Isle of Wight folklore says that the devil dropped the stones from his overloaded cart on the downs above Compton Bay. A child or innocent adult can swing the large stone backwards and forwards; but a mighty man with great strength will fail if there is guilt on his soul. Mottistone is   Old English for speakers’ stone. It is said that Druids sacrificed white bulls here. In Celtic tradition white cattle with red ears come from the underworld and belong to the fairies.

Mottistone Manor Gardens

Isle of Wight, tourism

This is just one of many National Trust properties on the Isle of Wight. The manor house itself is medieval and Elizabethan in style. The peaceful gardens were laid out as recently as the1970s in a traditional style to match the buildings. Formal terraces are complemented by magnificent herbaceous borders and an organic kitchen garden. In 2012 Mottistone Manor’s gardens are open to the public five days a week from 18 March to 1 November . The manor house itself is only open at the Spring Holiday, Sunday 3 and Sunday 4 June. The National Trust car park is a good starting point for a walk up to the Long Stone and across the downs with magnificent views over Compton Bay.  It’s a great place for photographs of Compton Bay for Isle of Wight tourism websites and holiday albums.

Photos: Jeremy Cangialosi

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