So, this Autumnal sunshine is fantastic. Sundays are about getting outside and to be still able to get in some long walks on the Island, during weekends in October, in a t-shirt, is sublime.
Today’s 12.3 miler was about completing part of the Island Famous (and a bit further afield) Tennyson Trail
We parked in the car park just up from Freshwater Bay and turned on the ViewRanger App. We track all of our walks now and this is my app of choice. A review of this app can be found here. The grid reference of where we started from is SZ 35073 85721 – the parking is free and the short walk down through the Bay to the start of the walk always leaves me in awe – one of the best views on the Isle of Wight.
When you get to SZ 34526 85797 on Gate Lane, turn left up past the public toilets and head towards the trail itself…..if you follow signs for the coastal path it takes you up through the field but we ignored these and carried on to the cliff edge where you get some great views of Watcombe Bay
This bay is only accessible at low tide or by kayak and there are some great caves to explore if you are feeling adventurous – but make sure you take care. We followed the trail up over the down.
As you start your accent, make sure you don’t forget to look back. You get a great view of the back of the Wight famed for shipwrecks and a geological makeup that is known for fossils.
Just shy of a mile in you really start to climb, this part always makes us breathe heavy, no matter how fit we think we are. Once up the main climb, it’s a steady stroll up to Tennyson’s Monument on Tennyson Down, highlighted below by the yellow arrow. The distance is about just over 2 miles to the top.
After the obligatory selfie we carried on, along High Down, towards the Needles. We chose the route closest to the cliff edge.
If you visit the Isle of Wight for whatever reason, you have to visit the Needles. Not only is the view fantastic, it’s also the test site of the Black Knight Rocket. The old test site is still visible.
Now from this point you have choices. Turn around and head back the way you came or extend your route and head down towards the coast via Alum Bay, Headon Warren and Totland – the choice we made.
Once you are at Totland follow the coastal path down to the sea. The path we took is at grid reference SZ 32071 86557 and leads down through Widdick Chine.
From here you can head around the coast via the esplanade towards Colwell. For the history buffs reading this, there are great views of both Hurst Castle and Fort Albert. Fort Albert is now a luxury private residence and two years ago I was lucky enough to shot this for the resident….Wow is all I will say.
Once you get to Colwell, continue along the beach until you get to SZ 32981 88277. The concrete roadway from here leads up into Brambles Holiday camp and this was where we started to head across country back to the car.
To keep with the historic theme – once you leave the chine you are following signs back to Freshwater and the path goes via Golden Hill Fort. The fort can be found at grid reference SZ 33891 87854. Again, this is now a private residence and apartments here start at £350,000. I am old enough to remember being able to tour the old fort with my Grandfather, during the 80s.
From here to get back to the car park, follow the path that takes you down into the village and then across the marsh back to Freshwater Bay.
For full route details – and to follow it, if you wish, check out my ViewRanger route that is free to download to the app.
Back at the car your feet may ache but it will be worth it one more time just to look at that view