Walking on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a favourite destination for walkers. It has a
wide variety of countryside ranging from river estuaries to spectacular
cliffs. Picturesque villages give way to pretty farms, river valleys and
nature reserves. Almost half of the island is designated as an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Island enjoys a comprehensive network of over 500 miles of well
maintained and signposted footpaths, including 6 long distance trails.
The 60 mile coastal path encompasses Victorian piers, views across the
busy Solent, fishing villages, wild chalk downland, sandy beaches.
The Island also boasts one of the mildest climates in the UK, with the
towns of Ventnor and Shanklin regularly appearing in lists of the UK’s
10 sunniest places. The Undercliff at Ventnor particularly benefits from
this climate, and Ventnor Botanic Gardens features many species normally
found in warmer environments.
An extensive and reliable bus network allows visitors to dispense with
their cars; walkers are not restricted to circular walks, but can plan
one way by bus or train.
Why not take in an attraction? Plan your walk to include an attraction,
such as the Botanic Gardens at Ventnor (free entry), Nunwell House at
Brading, the Needles Battery. Or just through a picturesque village like
Godshill. Or enjoy the contrast of descending from the isolation of
Tennyson Down into the busy Alum Bay Theme Park, and then on towards
How about taking a footpath crossing the track of the Isle of Wight
Steam Railway? With careful timing you may be lucky to catch site of the
unmistakable clouds of smoke and steam as the train slowly chugs through
the countryside between Smallbrook and Wooton
And of course, there must be a reason why the Isle of Wight is host to
Europe’s largest Walking Festival, held in May each year.
Why walk from Shanklin ?
Shanklin is a picturesque seaside town on the southern end of the
sandy Sandown Bay. Several shops sell walking equipment. A local Tourist
Information Office has details of attractions and bus and train
timetables, and stocks many books and leaflets on walks on the Island.
Shanklin Old Village has a variety of tea rooms, pubs and restaurants,
offering anything from a cream tea to Thai curry.
Why walk from Lyon Court ?
Lyon Court is situated about a mile from the train station and half a
mile from the Old Village. It is on the edge of town, looking on to
A number of interesting circular walks are available. Or take a linear
walk and return via the excellent bus network, or even by train. These
range from walking over the downs, the Coastal path, or through
A new permissive footpath was opened in 2004, almost opposite our back
gate. The footpath is part of a project to link several local woods
together, to provide a corridor for wild life. Thousands of trees of
mixed species were planted in 2004 which will one day mature into a
Taking the new footpath, you climb steadily up through fields and
woodland towards Shanklin Down. After only a few minutes, you can look
back for a good view of Lyon Court. If you regularly pause to take in
the view, you will firstly see Shanklin, and then beyond that across
Sandown Bay to Sandown pier and Culver Down. A little higher and you
find yourself looking across the Island and over the Solent towards
Portsmouth’s unmistakable Spinnaker Tower and the mainland.
After maybe half a mile, you meet up with the Worsley Trail. Turning
left takes you back towards Shanklin. where you can join the Coastal
Path. Or turn right to follow the trail towards Wroxall and beyond. Or
to get the best view, work your way towards the summit of Shanklin Down.
At 760 feet, you have stunning views looking north beyond Brading Down
across the Solent to Portsmouth and the South Downs.
Shanklin Down merges into Luccombe Down, where there are wild ponies,
and to St Boniface Down, emerging at the site of the old railway station
From Ventnor, return by the coastal path through Bonchurch and Luccombe.
Or via Wroxall, where you can join the path along the disused railway
line back to Shanklin.