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Five Fabulous Walks on the Isle of Wight

Home > Isle of Wight > Walks | Travel | Places of Interest | Weekend Escapes
by Fiona Trowbridge (subscribe)
I am a freelance travel writer creating memories with a 'can do' mind set. I enjoy stepping outside my comfort zone to explore, learn & share. Visit my blog at
Published February 11th 2017
Fancy going for a walk?
My Favourite Walks on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight on the south coast of England is only about an hour and a half from London. It has more footpaths per head of population than anywhere else in the UK and with a population of over 130,000, that's a lot of footpaths.

St Bonifcae down, Isle of Wight, walk, Ventnor
St Boniface Down at Sunset

Luckily the whole of the Isle of Wight fits onto one OS map either the Explorer Map OL29 1:25 000 scale or the Landranger 1:50 000

Unlike many of the popular walks in Wales, Scotland and the Lake District, the Isle of Wight trails are relatively underused and if it's a quiet undisturbed walk you are looking for, you won't be disappointed. That is apart from the last walk - Walk the Wight which usually sees over 10 000 people taking part in it.

These are my favourite Isle of Wight walks. If you are planning to visit the Isle of Wight, why not check out the other free things you can do while you are there.

Shanklin and St Boniface Down

This walk starts at the back of St Blasius Parish Church, a picturesque church on the road out of Shanklin towards Ventnor.

Walk round to the back via the left-hand side of the church where you will see a footpath marking a section of the Worsley Trail.

From here, it's a fairly steep, and sometimes muddy, climb to the sea mark on Shanklin Down where on a clear day you can see across the island from the white cliffs of Culver Down on one side to the white cliffs of Tennyson Down on the other. There are great views over the bay so don't forget to stop on your way up.

Isle of Wight Shanklin Culver Walk
White Cliffs of Culver Down

At this point, you can head back down or carry on over a stile to St Boniface Down, the highest point on the island at 241m. This part is a pretty flat walk around the top of a punchbowl type landscape.

If you do decide to walk to St Boniface Down, you can then walk down to Ventnor where there are plenty Cafes and Restaurants.

St Bonifcae down, Isle of Wight, walk, Ventnor
St Boniface Down at Sunset

Walker Tip: There is free parking at the start of the walk at St Blasius Church and if you walk all the way to Ventnor, there is a regular bus service throughout the year back to Shanklin.

Godshill Circular Walk

Godshill is an ancient village listed in the Domesday Book and the most visited village on the Isle of Wight. Its picturesque tearooms and restaurants and free car parking make it an ideal place to start and end many walks.

Godshill Isle of Wight domesday walk
The Start of the Walk in Godshill

This walk starts at the thatched café and heads up Church Hollow past the old church to a beautiful row of thatched cottages. You then turn left and pick up the Worlsey trail again and follow it to Bridgecourt Farm and across the road.

Godshill, Isle of Wight, Walk, Bridgecourt
The Remains of Bridgecourt Mill

You will continue on this path following it round past a duck pond looking out for the remains of the old Bridgecourt Mill hidden in the woodland. When you reach Bagwitch Lane, turn left until you reach Beacon Alley. As you come back round, you will have great views of Culver Cliffs and the old church in Godshill from the unfortunately named Bleak Down.

There are various paths you can take that will bring you back to Godshill.

chocolate shop Godshill Isle of Wight Walk
Chocolate Shop at the End of Walk

Walker Tip: Parts of this walk can be quite muddy and I'd suggest walking boots. However the terrain is not difficult nor is it steep, so after a very dry spell, trainers or sturdy shoes might be OK. The walk should take less than an hour and it's a good excuse to pop into the chocolate shop afterwards for a hot chocolate.

Round the Island Coastal Path

Although the coastal path is a circular walk, at 67 miles (107km) it would be considered a long distance walk and probably best enjoyed over a few days. I did it in 4 days and was surprised to find that it wasn't as hilly as I thought I would be.

The coastal path is surprisingly flat with mainly gradual ascents and descents. There are a few climbs but not in comparison to some parts of the island like the Shanklin Down walk.

Isle of Wight St Catherines LIghthouse Coastal Path
St Catherine's Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight Coastal Path

On the south side of the island, the views over the bay towards The English Channel are quite stunning and the path follows the coastline very closely. On certain tides, you can even walk along the beach.

Newtown creek, Isle of Wight, Walk, Coastal Path
Great Spotted Woodpecker near Newtown Creek

On the north side, you are further inland although if you are keen on bird watching, you may be treated to some migrants and residents around the mudflats of Newtown creek.

Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, Coastal Path, Walk
Old Quarr Abbey Isle of Wight Coastal Path

Walker Tip: There is a good breakdown of the various sections of the coastal path on the Visit Isle of Wight website.

Red Squirrel Walk

This lovely short circular flat walk will take you inland to Adgestone and back along part of the Sustrans Cycle Route 23 from Cowes to Sandown.

Red squirrel, Isle of Wight, Cycle Path, Sustrans Route 23
Red Squirrel near Hide at Alverstone

You can park near the waterworks at Sandown and Shanklin Golf Club and follow the bridleway to Burnt House Lane. Here you will see a blackboard with recent sightings listed on it. The hide is a few metres to the right of the balckboard and depending on the time of day you visit, you may see anything from kingfishers and buzzards to red squirrels and rodents.

Red Squirrel Walk, Isle of Wight
Red Squirrel Walk

The squirrels, finches and tits are quite familiar with humans at this hide which should enable you to get some good close up photos.

Red squirrel, Isle of Wight, Cycle Path, Sustrans Route 23
Red Squirrel Feeding at the Hide in Alverstone

From the hide, you will probably see cyclists in the distance on the other side of the marsh. That is your return path if you want to make it a circular walk.

Walkers Tip: The hide is overshadowed by foliage and quite dark, so you may want to take a tripod for your camera to catch some good clear shots. There are no shops or cafes on this route.

Walk the Wight

Unlike all the other walks I've mentioned, you will meet thousands of people on this walk. It's an annual charity event which takes place in May each year in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the Island.

Walk the Wight, Isle of Wight, Walking Festival
Walk the Wight Near the Beginning

Walk the Wight has been an annual event on the Isle of Wight for over 25 years and is the largest sponsored walk of its kind in Europe.

Although most of the 26 miles (42km) walk is on public footpaths and bridleways some landowners allow access across their land for this day only each year, so it's a great chance to see some of the island you wouldn't normally see.

Walk the Wight, Isle of Wight, Walking Festival
Walk the Wight Still A Long Way To Go

Walker Tip: Free buses run all day on the island for walkers who show their walk number. There aren't many shops on the route as it's mostly countryside so make sure you carry enough food and water. More details about this event can be found here.

There are many more walks I could tell you about on the Isle of Wight but if you have a favourite, I'd love to hear about it.

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Why? Beautiful Island only 10 minutes from the mainland
When: Anytime
Phone: 44 (0)1983 521555
Where: Isle of Wight
Cost: Free
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Great article! Congratulations on the award!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 1962 days ago
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