The Isle of Wight is one of the top destinations in the UK for walkers, with a network of over 500 miles of footpaths weaving their way through contrasting landscapes and coastline. We also have the largest Walking Festival in the country, with nearly 300 different walks taking place over 2 weeks in May!

Whilst the more hardened walkers might like to take on the challenge of the 67 mile coastal path, there are plenty of shorter walks we’d recommend which take in some of the Island’s “best bits” – we’ve picked out 5 of our favourites, along with a stop along the way to rest your weary feet:

Brook to Freshwater Bay

Easily one of the most photographed stretches of the Island’s coastline is the 3 mile stretch which runs from Brook to Freshwater Bay. Starting off at the car park above Brook Bay, one of the Island’s best beaches for fossil finds, the route leads you along the sandstone cliffs to the rear of Hanover Point and Compton Bay, up onto the spectacular chalk downs, before descending into the small cove of Freshwater Bay.

Along the way you can stop off for an Ice Cream at Compton Bay’s main car park, snap a Dinosaur-selfie with the Dinosaur Island meteorite, and even take the steps down to the beach to quickly dip your toes in the sea. But above all just marvel at one of the Island’s most breathtaking views – great at any time of day or year, but particularly good just as the sun goes down.

Freshwater to Compton Walk

(Above - Coast Path from Freshwater Bay to Compton)

Once you arrive at Freshwater Bay carry on up the road to famed Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron’s former house, Dimbola Lodge, which is now a museum and gallery dedicated to her work. Continue on past Dimbola and you will find the Piano Café – the former piano shop where poet laureate Tennyson once bought his sheet music, now serving quality coffees, food and refreshments in a stylish setting with free WIFI.

Click here for Coastal Path map featuring this route

Appley to Seagrove Bay

For a flatter coastal walk try the 3 mile stretch which runs from Appley in Ryde through to Seagrove Bay, just east of the village of Seaview. From Appley follow the well-established “Garden Walk”, which leads along the sea wall with the luscious green park to your right and the largest expanse of golden sands on the Island to your left. Another of the Island’s photographic hotspots is Appley Tower, the imposing gothic style tower which stands to the rear of the beach, which you can take a quick trip to the top of for just a £1 entry fee.

(Below - Appley Tower along Garden Walk)

Appley Tower Walk

Beyond Appley you will walk round the exterior of Puckpool Park, hidden amongst which you will find the ruins of a Victorian fortification battery which once guarded the Solent – well worth exploring if you fancy a detour from the coast.

Continue along Duver Road, where you can step onto Springvale Beach, or stick to the easy-going of the protected pathway to the back of the sea wall. At the end of the beach you will reach the pretty village of Seaview. Time for a quick stop at one of the Island’s finest lodges, the Seaview Hotel, where the inviting “Pump Bar” offers a traditional blend of great pub food and ales.

Seagrove Bay

(Above - Seagrove Bay)

Continue on via the beach at low tide (or detour via the road when it’s higher) to one of the Island’s lesser-known beaches, Seagrove Bay. At the rear of the beach are some of the Isle of Wight’s biggest, and most exclusive seaside properties, and at lower tide the sea recedes to reveal a mass of golden sands.

Click here for Coastal Path map featuring this route

The Warrior Trail

The Warrior Trail was created in celebration one of the Isle of Wight’s most famous First World War Stories; that of General Jack Seely and his real-life Warhorse. It is a 6 mile circular route which samples both the rolling hills and heritage coastline, and follows much of the route that Jack Seely once trained Warrior along – including a trip past Brook Bay where Warrior was trained for battle in the surf.

Longstone on the Warrior Trail

(Above - The Long Stone)

Starting at Mottistone Gardens car park (next to the church and manor house actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently chose for his wedding) the route leads up onto the downs, past the megalithic monument of the Long Stone, and grand manor of Brook Hill House (Jack Seely’s former home) before reaching Brook village.

Once you’ve looped around the back of Brook Church to the edge of the village of Hulverstone there is a great little pub called “The Sun Inn” (also chosen by Mr Cumberbatch for some post wedding drinks the following day) where you can stop off for refreshments.

(Below - St Mary the Virgin Church at Brook)

Church at Brook

Continue on to the coast past the old lifeboat station and complete the loop back round along the coast path from Brook Bay. If you fancy bringing a bike and trying the Warrior Trail out there are alternative route suggestions which tour the nearby villages of Brighstone and Yafford.

More information on the Warrior Trail

The Tapnell Trail

The inland Tapnell Trail leads you on a trip back through festival history, along the site of the Isle of Wight’s 1970 Festival, where a reputed 600,000 revellers turned up for 5 days of music.

Beginning along The Causeway at the end of the Yar Estuary you turn left just walk over the small river bridge before joining the bridleway opposite Woodland Cottage. You will then work your way across open countryside leading past the back of East Afton Farm.

(Below - The Causeway on the Yar Estuary)

As you reach Tapnell Farm a quick wander up the track and you will find yourself at The Cow Co (opening early Summer) – an all-new attraction for the Island celebrating Beef and Dairy brilliance, with a great restaurant, shop, exhibitions and more. After a quick bite to eat here (make sure you check out the sweeping views of both sides of the Island from the top floor of the restaurant) its back onto the trail along to the foot of Afton Down.

Tapnell Farm from Afton Down

(Above - view from Afton Down)

Afton Down was the chosen site for the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, so as you walk back along through the fields to rejoin The Causeway try to imagine 6 times the Island’s population milling about to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Doors!

Download the Tapnell Trail Map

Whippingham to Newport

The small village of Whippingham had plenty of royal ties when Queen Victoria was in residence just up the road at Osborne, and the small church at the start of this walk was redesigned by her husband Prince Albert (the Queen’s personal Pew can still be found inside.)

From the church you follow the path in the direction of the River Medina, and past the popular “sailors stop” the Folly Inn. Follow the River from here until you reach the pretty little marina at Island Harbour, where the The Breeze Restaurant and Bar is open daily for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Just past the Marina you will see the sizeable remains of the Ryde Queen, a former paddle steamer which operated a ferry service back to the mainland before being moved to her current moorings to operate as a unique nightclub in the 1970s.

River Medina during Isle of Wight Festival

(Above - River Medina from Quay to Island Harbour, during Isle of Wight Festival)

Stick to the river along the paths and bridges until you reach Seaclose Park – the current site of  the Isle of Wight Festival. It is a short walk from here along the side of the Quay into Newport, the Island’s capital town.

Download the Waterside Whippingham Map for route

Don't forget to check out the full range of walks at this year's Isle of Wight Walking Festival, which takes place from 2nd to 17th May - more details can be found on their website www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk

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