Trek Notes - England

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Coast Path

General Information
Circumnavigating an island is always a rewarding experience and the path around the Isle of Wight’s spectacular coastline is especially satisfying. The variety of the coastal scenery is amazing, with towering stark white cliffs, the spectacular chalk stacks of ‘The Needles’, the multi-colored sands of Alum Bay, wooded ‘chines’, golden beaches, dramatic land slipped bluffs, sheltered under cliffs, tidal creeks, estuaries, mudflats and salt marsh.

Along the trail you’ll find sleepy thatched villages, lively seaside resorts and bustling harbors. Other features of interest include a fossil forest; Appley Tower, built to celebrate the sailing of the First Fleet to Botany Bay in 1787; Yarmouth Castle, built by Henry VIII to defend the port from attacks by the French; Palmerston-era forts like the spectacularly sited Needles Old Battery, built in 1862 in response to the threat of a French invasion; St Catherine’s Oratory and ‘Pepper Pot’ lighthouse, built as an act of contrition by a wrecker who unwisely stole a quantity of religious wine from a local shipwreck in 1313; Quarr Abbey, the remains of the island’s earliest Christian relics; and Osborne House which was built in the 1840’s by Prince Albert and Thomas Cubitt as a summer retreat for the Royal Family. Following Albert’s death, the desolate Queen Victoria spent much of her time here until her death in 1901. Since then, the house has remained virtually unaltered, offering a unique insight into Victoria’s family life.

Travel Information
Total distance: 65 miles (104km)
Duration: 8 nights, 7 days walking
Minimum/maximum daily distances: 8 miles (13km)/11 ½ miles (18km)
Waymarking: The trail is very clearly waymarked and is very easy to follow.
Season: All year
Starting point of holiday: Ryde
End of holiday: Ryde
Most convenient major city and International airports: London.
Outward journey from London to Ryde: Train from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour (1 ½ hours), then Wightlink ferry to Ryde (crossing time 15 minutes).
Return journey to London at the end of the holiday: Ferry from Ryde to Portsmouth Harbour, catch the train to London Waterloo.
Travelling by car: There is a choice of three crossings to the island: Wightlink ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth (crossing time 30 minutes), Wightlink ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne (crossing time 35 minutes) or Red Funnel ferry from Southampton to Cowes (crossing time 55 minutes).

Day 1: Travel to Ryde, where your first nights accommodation has been booked.

Day 2: Ryde to Cowes.8 miles (13km).

Day 3: Cowes to Shalfleet.8 miles (13km).

Day 4: Shalfleet to Totland.10 miles (16km).

Day 5: Totland to Brighstone.10 miles (16km).

Day 6: Brighstone to Niton.8 miles (13km).

Day 7: Niton to Sandown.9 ½ miles (15km).

Day 8: Sandown to Ryde.11 ½ miles (18km).

Day 9: Depart from Ryde after breakfast.

Accommodation & Meals
8 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms in selected hotels, inns or guesthouses.
Full English breakfast

What’s Included
Door to door luggage transfer.
Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook describing the trail.
An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, town plans, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
Emergency assistance.

Extra nights/Rest days
For centuries Cowes has been associated with sailing craft and boat building and along its busy High Street you'll find shops reflecting the towns heritage, with boatyards, chandlers and Beckens's famous yachting gallery. Shalfleet is a charming little village and is a good base for exploring the delightful countryside of the interior of the island or visiting Newport, the capital of the Isle of Wight. On the outskirts of the town stands the magnificent medieval hilltop fortress of Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was imprisoned prior to his execution in London. As well as a fascinating museum, the castle boasts a 16th century well house, where donkeys still trudge inside a huge treadmill to raise a barrel 160ft up the well shaft. A walk around the battlements provides stunning views over the island and lofty perspectives of the castles interior. If you fancy somewhere quieter, consider Brighstone, it is a beautiful little village set amid flower-strewn fields between forest and sea. If you would like to enjoy one of the finest beaches in the south of England consider Shanklin for an extra night.

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