Walk This May! The Isle of Wight Walking Festival

May is National Walking Month with the strapline,

Get those walking boots on, pack a picnic and go and enjoy the epic views, scenery and wildlife on the beautiful Isle of Wight.

We are being encouraged to walk to work, walk as a family and walk for charity, to mention just a few reasons.  The Island can offer beach walks, downs walks and beautiful sheltered inland walks.  The reclaimed railway lines that form the cycle tracks enable everybody to enjoy our beautiful Island.  You may see the most spectacular views, breathe in the sea air and feel refreshed when you explore such a beautiful place.  Tennyson himself took much of his inspiration walking the Downs and could often be seen in all weathers in his infamous hat and cloak. 

We all have our favourite walks but here are some Island classics:

Compton Beach – Military Rd

We often head out to Compton Beach, climb down the steps and walk along the sandy beach looking for Dinosaurs!  Every day offers a different light configuration and can sometimes be very dramatic with the waves crashing to the shore.  On particularly sunny days you imagine you are abroad as the sea is so blue and twinkly. You can do this walk directly from Farringford

Tennyson’s Monument - Freshwater

Another favourite is the big pull up to Tennyson’s monument from Freshwater Bay (you can also do this walk from Farringford).  Take a snack and a drink with you – especially if you have little one’s who may get weary!  It is quite a gradient up to the top but the hill is gradual and the views well worth it.

Newtown – Central/West Isle

We park in the National Trust car park and head out on the clearly marked footpaths to one of the most picturesque inlets on the Island.  This is a great place for a family walk most of the year round but the board walk may require wellies in wetter months!  There is a bird hide where you can log the birds that you see and often boats moored on the still water as if they have been painted by an artist.

Red Squirrel Trail – Shide to Sandown

Recently we have enjoyed the Red Squirrel Trail , from Shide (Newport) all the way to Sandown on the cycle track.  This offers a tranquil flat walk of approximately 8 miles with lots of wildlife to look for, a couple of cake or ice cream stops on the way too. 

The Isle of Wight walking festival has many walks, for all abilities and runs from May 4th to  May 19th 2019 .  There is nothing to stop you taking inspiration from these organised walks at any time of the year but they may be best enjoyed with an informed guide who can enlighten you on local history and anecdotes.

Dates, places and walk grades can be found in the Isle of Wight Walking Festival Walks Directory 2019.

Walk the Wight

The Walking Festival's big sponsored walk, Walk the Wight, takes place on Sunday 12 May 2019. 

This 26-mile walk starts at Bembridge at 6am and finishes at The Needles.  Raising money for our local Hospice which takes several millions to run. Thousands of participants are expected to take on the main walk, although shorter less arduous routes are also included - but you do need to be registered.

Some people walk half the route from Bembridge to Carisbrooke or from Carisbrooke to The Needles. There is also a very level eight-mile flat walk along the cycle path from Sandown to Newport. 

To sign up, visit the Walk the Wight website registration page

Walking around the Island is really the best way to see it, not only for the stunning views but for the many different species of wildlife, fascinating churches and many different examples  of unique architecture.

Go on – get those boots on and Walk this May!

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