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Guidebook to 33 walking routes on the beautiful Isle of Wight, from 4 to 18 miles long. The routes are suitable for all abilities and are accessible all year round. Includes a complete circuit of the island's spectacular coast as well as walks exploring forest trails and downland, and visiting the towns of Yarmouth, Cowes and Ventnor.
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A guidebook to 33 walking routes on the beautiful Isle of Wight, including the 70 mile Coastal Path - a complete circuit of the island's spectacular coast. Ranging from 4 to 18 miles long, the walks explore clifftops, beaches, forest trails and downland, and visit picturesque villages and the towns of Yarmouth, Cowes and Ventnor. Graded easy to moderate, they are suitable for all abilities and are accessible all year round.
The guide contains clear step-by-step route descriptions for each walk, accompanied by an extract from 1:50,000 OS mapping. There is information about refreshment and accommodation options along the route and plenty of details about the island's history and the interesting places encountered. Options for accessing the start and finish using the island excellent public transport are also given for each walk.
With an incredible 326 miles of footpaths in a compact area, there is a huge choice of where to walk, which means that walkers can experience all the diversity the island has to offer – jaw-dropping views such as those from the magnificent coastline of West Wight, St Catherine's Point and the Needles, sweeping downland, as well as 2000 or so listed buildings.
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|Geography and landscape|
|A potted history|
|When to go|
|Getting to the island|
|What to take|
|Walking in groups|
|Walking with children|
|Using this guide|
|Walk 1 Sandown to Ventnor|
|Walk 2 Ventnor to Chale|
|Walk 3 Chale to Brook|
|Walk 4 Brook to Alum Bay|
|Walk 5 Alum Bay to Yarmouth|
|Walk 6 Yarmouth to Shalfleet|
|Walk 7 Shalfleet to East Cowes|
|Walk 8 East Cowes to Ryde|
|Walk 9 Ryde to Sandown|
|Walk 10 Shorwell circular|
|Walk 11 Shorwell to Niton|
|Walk 12 Brighstone circular|
|Walk 13 Brighstone to Yarmouth|
|Walk 14 Best of eastern Freshwater (circular)|
|Walk 15 Best of western Freshwater (circular)|
|Walk 16 Shalfleet and Newtown circular|
|Walk 17 Shalfleet to Newport|
|Walk 18 Gatcombe to Newport|
|Walk 19 Tennyson Trail|
|Walk 20 Shanklin circular via Nettlecombe|
|Walk 21 Shanklin circular via Bonchurch|
|Walk 22 Shanklin circular via America Wood|
|Walk 23 Shanklin to Godshill|
|Walk 24 Niton circular (the two lighthouses walk)|
|Walk 25 Ashey Station circular|
|Walk 26 Ryde to Ventnor|
|Walk 27 Seaview circular|
|Walk 28 Wootton Bridge circular|
|Walk 29 Wootton Bridge to Newport|
|Walk 30 Bembridge Trail|
|Walk 31 Worsley Trail|
|Walk 32 Shorwell to Brading|
|Walk 33 Godshill to Ventnor|
|Appendix A Route summary table|
|Appendix B Useful contacts|
It is surprising that, in spite of the Isle of Wight’s beauty and elegance, this peaceful and perfect-sized island is often dismissed simply as a place to go for a long weekend or somewhere to send children on school trips. Perhaps it is because many visitors tend not to penetrate the island beyond the resorts and the tourist attractions. But those with curiosity are likely to fall in love with this place; its variety of scenery and understated aesthetic qualities are appreciated most by those on foot, with almost everywhere being accessible courtesy of the green buses which stand out on the landscape. The Isle of Wight is made for walking!
Nearly half the island is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but this is misleading as almost the entire island can rightly be called beautiful. There are jaw-dropping views such as those from the magnificent coastline of West Wight, St Boniface, Culver and Brading Downs, St Catherine’s Point and the Needles. And there is also a gentler, more intimate beauty at countless locations unknown even by many islanders, such as remote Newtown Harbour, an ‘undiscovered’ balcony trail near Gatcombe, and even the scenic path linking urban Carisbrooke and Newport.
The island’s default scenery is graceful, undulating downland, very attractive to the eye, and if you walk in any direction for up to 5 miles you would almost certainly glimpse the sea. Tree-lovers are also well catered for, with the large and lonely Brighstone Forest being particularly attractive, situated on top of the magnificent West Wight ridge of downs and offering enchanting sea views from its southern fringe. And sea-lovers will be enamoured with the Coastal Path; simply a stunner! Only thrill-seeking walkers or those not interested in anything except alpine scenery would be disappointed with the Isle of Wight.
There are an incredible 525km (326 miles) of footpaths on an island of just 381 square kilometres (147 square miles), and there are more footpaths and bridleways than roads. Such a choice of where to walk means that walkers can experience all the diversity the island has to offer – not only scenery but also many of the 2000 or so listed buildings – and that the trails are not too crowded, except on very popular routes in high season.
The Isle of Wight is an ideal size for a walking holiday – not so small that visitors can become familiar with it in under a week, yet small enough to walk from Bembridge on the east coast to the Needles on the west coast in a single day. Away from the few towns and sometimes cheesy (yet charming) coastal resorts, the island is genuinely a walker’s paradise: an overused term, but definitely applicable in this case. This is not just because of the consistently attractive, varied scenery and preponderance of footpaths, but also because of a particularly mild, temperate climate, exceptionally good access to walks via public transport, and optimum levels of safety – the last of which makes it an especially good destination for beginners and families to try some walking.
The fact that the Isle of Wight is not teeming with walkers all year round is everyone else’s loss and your gain.