The Lost Summer & Blackberries Everywhere

So I must admit that I haven’t blogged in a very long time.  In fact, February 2016 was the last time my fingers tapped out a post.  Slay me down or dish out whatever other punishment you can think of but I’m back and something has inspired me over the last few weeks.

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I’m back…

I am lucky enough to have had two weeks off work.  This has come at the end of a very busy summer where we have been renovating our house.  It’s fair to say that this almost took over our lives and has meant that 2016 was the year of the “Lost Summer.”

We have not had time for our many adventures around the coast of the Isle of Wight in our kayaks and when we have been off from work on the weekends, the weather maybe hasn’t been in our favour.

Therefore, a weeks break in the Lake District, to celebrate turning 41, meant that we were able to get outside and explore the great outdoors in our own country.  This was just what we needed and the process of planning and walking has really inspired me.

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A Love of Geography & Maps

I have always had a passion for Geography and maps and heading to the Lakes, an area I have never visited before, forced me to do two things:

  1. Invest in an online subscription with the Ordnance Survey. This allowed my inner geek to be exercised and….
  2. Invest in some Landranger Maps of the areas I wanted to walk in.  There is something reassuring about a paper map and I just love the feel of it in my hand.

We used both products daily in the Lakes and as you can see from the picture below, I tried to look the part too…..even the weather didn’t get us down.

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My Backyard Adventure

Coming home to the Isle of Wight, this passion for planning a walk has followed me and we have committed to exploring our own backyard a bit more.  We have always been walkers but both of us caught the bug a bit more whilst we were away and we will even purchase a map of our local area, that we know well, to ensure we find new places to stroll.

Today, we planned a walk using the online services of the Ordnance Survey and our route is now online for all to see.  If you want the details click here.  We haven’t purchased our local Isle of Wight map yet but we printed off the section we needed and headed out.

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Our walk was 13.08km which is just over 8 miles and consisted of a gentle stroll through local farmland near where we live.  The start of the walk is a little hidden.  The footpath is at the end of Cooper Road in Newport and you almost feel that you are trespassing on someone’s drive, but have faith, behind their garage building you find the path towards New Fairlee Farm.  A word of warning – where this walk is over mainly farmland you will encounter livestock, some of it loose and able to gallop up to you!

Once you pass the cows (there have always been cows in the field every time I visit) and pass the farm buildings of  New Fairlee Farm turn left just after the metal gate and start you walk along by the maize field.  From here if you look left you will have a view all the way down the Medina Valley, glimpsing Cowes in the distance.

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View on OS Map SZ 516 899 – Looking towards the Medina Valley

Continue along the route until you reach 2.1km and turn right over the style on the waymarked route.

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This path will take you all the way down to Fattingpark Copse and en route watch out for the fallen tree over the path.  You can get round it by diverting into the trees but it’s fun to have a climb on if you think you are Bear Grylls!

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Continue along the path until it eventually rejoins the old railway track at SZ 524 914.  You are now 3.2km through your walk.  You are now walking along part of the old Isle of Wight Central Railway heading towards Wootton Station, still in use today for the Island Steam Attraction.

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Once you pass through the tunnel, which we think looks very new, carry on on the track for a few minutes before reaching the main road at SZ 535 913.  Here you need to turn right and walk on the pavement to just pass the nice houses on the right.  Over on the left-hand side of the road, you will see a path marked to Littletown Lane.  Take this and keep an eye out for hidden sign showing the route pass the houses.  Otherwise, you will end up in a residential home.

Passed the houses carry on until you reach the 5.2km mark of your walk, SZ 536 907, and don’t make the mistake we did of heading left at the confusing signs.  You will know you have gone wrong when you pass a lovely little house, circumnavigating their garden, and you see the railway line in front of you.  As a guide, you are heading for the grid reference of SZ 536 905.  Head through the fields until you reach the gravel path.

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Once on the gravel path, this will take you up to the Briddlesford Road past various farms.  Doreshill Fam also specialises in antiques and cane furniture if that is your thing.  A word of warning – people drive too fast along Briddlesford Road and when we reach this point we witnessed a driver overtake a car just before we came out, whilst a car was coming just as fast in the opposite direction.  You will see warning signs as you come to the end of the gravel lane.

Now at this point, you need to take to the main road for the first of two times in this walk.  Cross Briddlesford and head down Blacklands Lane.  A point to note, if you need a drink then Briddlesford Farm do nice food and drink but be careful walking down the main road.  I recommend their Sausage Rolls too!  Easily the best on the Island.

Carrying on down Blacklands Lane you need to walk for about 350 metres before you will see a sign for Blacklands Farm.  You may not see a footpath sign here but head up their drive keeping the farm buildings on your left.  From the farm at grid reference SZ 527 893 until you hit the main road again at Long Lane, the path becomes very hard to follow.

 

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Believe it or not, this is the path!

Make sure that you watch your footing and head passed the private plantation called Longlane on the map until you reach grid reference SZ 524 884.

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Again, this a fast road and you need to walk along it until you see a sign on the left showing a path signposted to Newport, via Pan.  Here the path becomes hard to follow again and we opted to use the digital map on my phone as it shows you if you are heading in the right direction.  The app can be downloaded from the Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS.

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As you can see from the picture above the beauty of this app is the pink marker shows you the direction of travel.  This comes in very handy when you cannot clearly see the path.  However, you obviously need a signal for this so don’t forget to brush up on your navigational skills.   There are some great resources on the Ordnance Survey’s YouTube Channel.

You follow this hard to see track until you reach just before Little Pan Farm at grid reference SZ 515 883.  We are now 11km into our walk and on our way home.  Keep your eyes peeled on this track as we saw a fox during the late morning.  You are now about to walk up the only slightly challenging hill on this walk.  You will walk up 37m in elevation and when you get to the top turn around to look back down at the view.

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From here there is a sharp left, almost back on yourself, to head along the path back towards Newport and the top of Staplers at grid reference SZ 512 892.  There is only one path so you cannot go wrong here.  Once you hit the roundabout at the previous grid reference you can walk straight down into the town of Newport, where  a welcomed coffee can be had.

Blackberries

This walk is really pleasant and the only thing we would have changed is that we should have realised the whole route would be full of juicy blackberries and tomorrow we could have been eating Blackberry Crumble!

Enjoy your adventures, #GetOutside and stay safe.

 

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