New Year walks on the Isle of Wight 2 Jan 2024
It’s time to blow out the cobwebs after the festive season’s overindulgence. What better way to start the year than a bracing walk? Combine a vigorous hike with breathtaking views with some of our top climbs on the Isle of Wight to enjoy at the start of a New Year.
The Tennyson Trail
For the truly energetic, embark on the entire Tennyson Trail journey from Carisbrooke to Alum Bay. Alternatively, opt for a shorter yet heart-pounding walk starting at Freshwater Bay, leading up to Fort Redoubt. As you ascend through National Trust land, where cows graze and ground-nesting birds thrive, you’ll retrace the footsteps of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the poet laureate of Queen Victoria’s era. The trail culminates at the Tennyson Monument, standing proudly at 147 meters above sea level. From here, relish the downhill journey, passing West High Down and catching sight of the Needles Old Battery—an ideal spot for cake and panoramic views. Conclude in Alum Bay, where you’ll find a well-deserved bus ride to take you back home.
St Boniface & Ventnor Downs
Epic vistas await those who conquer the highest point on Ventnor Downs. While a drive up to the summit is an option, the walk is a rewarding experience. Meet Ventnor’s resident herd of goats and marvel at stunning butterflies like the Adonis Blue as you ascend 240 meters above sea level. At the summit, panoramic views stretch across the Island and even extend to Portsmouth in the distance. Keep an eye out for the St Boniface Well plaque, believed to have wish-granting powers, and the Dakota Crash Memorial, a poignant tribute to a tragic flight from Jersey to Portsmouth that met its end on the cloud-covered St Boniface Down.
St Catherine’s Down
Conveniently situated near Blackgang Chine, the climb up St Catherine’s Down begins at a lookout car park, offering the perfect opportunity for an ice cream or tea pre or post-walk. Start by crossing the road, ascend steps, and pass through a gate onto St Catherine’s Down. Head toward the locally dubbed ‘Pepperpot,’ the sole surviving medieval lighthouse in England, built in 1314 as penance for a wine theft from a ship stranded in nearby Atherfield. Finish your climb here, taking in the view, or continue along St Catherine’s Down, following the well-trodden path toward the Hoy Monument which was erected in 1814 by wealthy merchant Michael Hoy to commemorate Tsar Alexander’s visit to England.