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New Year Walks on the Isle of Wight

With Christmas decorations boxed and only the least favourite festive sweets now left in the tin, thoughts turn to new goals and ambitions for 2020.

Whether your resolution is to be more productive, make quality time for you, stay healthy, stress free or to slim down after the inevitable Christmas indulgence, there is no better way to achieve all of the above than with a bracing winter walk across the unique Isle of Wight landscape.

There are a plethora of footpaths and circular walks connecting the Island’s best beauty spots, with routes to suit all fitness levels and mobility. The following are just a taster. We may also have suggested some hostelries to get your breath back in too… so look away if you are working towards a svelte new you!

If you fancy a shorter stroll, then explore beautiful Culver Down. Begin at the Culver Cliff car park and head towards Culver Battery and Whitecliff Ledge where you’ll have fabulous views across Whitecliff Bay and Bembridge. Continue along to the hill fort along the coastal path and then come back to the car park across Bembridge Down passing the Yarborough Monument. The walk is around 4km and there’s the Culver Haven Inn to have lunch in nearby.

The Hamstead Trail offers spectacular coastal view on this 13km walk. Begin at Hamstead Point on the northern coast of the Island and climb up to Shalcombe Down passing through Cranmore and Wellow where you’re bound to see some of the Island’s population or red squirrels in the woodlands. As you climb upwards the Down take in breath-taking countryside before repairing to the Sun Inn at Hulverstone to recharge your batteries.

For a lovely countryside walk which ends in the town try the 13km Nunwell trail from Sandown heading north across Brading Down and crossing the chalk down land which runs through the spine of the Island. Begin at Sandown station and cross the Down with its views of the East Wight and the Solent. This is a haven for birdwatchers, and you can use the hide en route to see what you can spot. Continue into Ryde town and head for Union Street and Michelangelo restaurant where you’ll be able to rest those weary legs and enjoy some Italian cuisine.

New Year Walks on the Isle of Wight

For a shortish but steep stretch of around 6km, walk from Shanklin to Ventnor along the coastal path. Much of the path is flat but there are some hilly climbs and steps, so you’ll need to be reasonably fit to tackle this. Begin on the front in Shanklin, past the Chine along to Appley Steps which is the steepest climb of the walk and takes you to Luccombe village with spectacular cliffs and scenery. Continue along to Bonchurch and from there to Ventnor where you’ll find lunch aplenty, coffee, cake and anything else you might fancy. Try the Winter Gardens for fab views, the Cantina for a great brunch or lunch or The Bistro for lunch or dinner. If you’re feeling energetic, walk back or get the bus and enjoy some ‘drive less, see more’.

For a real challenge take yourself along the Tennyson Trail from Newport to Alum Bay via Brighstone, Freshwater and Tennyson Down. Begin your walk at Carisbrooke Castle where Charles I was imprisoned then head through the beautiful Brighstone Down and Brighstone Forest before arriving at the coast where there are splendid views over Freshwater towards Alum Bay and the Needles from Freshwater Bay golf course. Walk down into Freshwater before ascending Tennyson Down towards the monument and on into Alum Bay. Break your journey and fortify yourself at the Piano Café or Julia’s Tearoom at Dimbola Lodge in Freshwater. The walk is 23km so make sure you’ve got your stomping legs on!

These are just a few of the wonderful Isle of Wight walks you can take but there are loads of other routes too – many of which are suitable for younger walkers and those with disabilities. You should also have a look at our  Slow Travel Guide for more inspiration to walk and cycle.

When out and about on the Island, remember to tag us in your images, videos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and we’ll reshare our favourites.

Getting Here

Whatever you decide to do and however you’re travelling, it couldn’t be easier to get to the Isle of Wight via Lymington, Southampton, Southsea or Portsmouth. There are regular rail connections to the south coast via SWR.

Travelling as a foot passenger is simple due to our excellent transport links with trains, buses, foot passenger ferries and our hovercraft service.