Isle of Wight Coastal Path 2017

     Isle of Wight Coastal Path. 23rd-29th  April 2017.     


46 members of East Lancs made the trip down to the Isle of Wight with Alfa Holidays providing the transport, hotel etc.  There were 3 non walking members on the trip but I'm pleased to say that all 43 walkers completed the route.    Below are the reports of each day's walking and a few pictures to give you a flavour of the scenery etc. All pictures under the reports by Hilary, see individual reports for the author/s.       

Click on the link below to see Ken's photos and videos.


Click on this link to see Ken's pictures and videos.



                                                                                                                 Day 1.

                                                                                          Shanklin to the Pearl Factory.                                              

On Monday 24th April 2017 41 members of the East Lancs trip gathered in the warm sunshine outside the Shanklin Hotel to begin four days of walking the Isle of Wight coastal path. After a group photo the leader for the day, Norman Thomas, led the group onto the coastal path out of Shanklin towards our destination for the day of the Pearl factory at Brighstone. Soon we were treated to a wonderful mixture of pleasant seashore line paths and undulating woodland trails filled with the perfume and colours of the beautiful spring flowers and foliage. Magnificent views of the coastline and calm clear blue sky carried us along to a  welcome coffee break about elevenish at the seaside town of Ventnor.

Continuing on our way such a large number of jolly rucksacked walkers often caused quite a stir as we passed through some of the quieter and very pretty residential areas such as St Lawrence. Passing through more delightful woodland we lunched overlooking St Catherine's lighthouse with wonderful panoramic views of the sea.

Soon after the sunshine started to desert us as we did a small amount of roadside walking through Chale. Soon after we are were back alongside the coast, at times close to the edge of the cliffs due to erosion, and it became rather cold and windy adding a harshness to the landscape. Negotiating several chines we arrived at the Pearl Factory just after four o'clock where some of the group partook of some welcome refreshments in the cafe.  We walked 17 miles with approximately 1,500 feet of ascent and had a thoroughly enjoyable first day.

With particular thanks to our leader Norman, Ken for assisting, Helen for being back marker and Tony for transporting us on a tortuous route by coach back to our hotel.



Day Two

Pearl factory to Yarmouth approx 15 Miles


Leaders: Dave Walsh No 1, Robb No 2 with Lynn and Hilary sharing No 3.

We awoke Tuesday morning to clear blue skies, the sun was shining but the temperature was 6 degrees. At the start of the walk it started to cloud over slightly, also there was a strong biting wind coming from the north which was good for walking at a very brisk pace. Off we went along the cliff edge of Brighstone Bay, nice short grass easy underfoot, with great views ahead of Freshwater Bay and the Tennyson Downs and the white cliffs of the Needles in the distance, on wards past the National Trust Mottistone Estate, Sudmoor, Brook Bay, Crompton Chine, there is a lot of erosion along this coast.

After crossing Crompton Bay and Downs we descended to Freshwater Bay resort where were we had our first break over looking the beach. Off again up Tennyson Downs to the tall monument on top in honour of Lord Tennyson Poet etc. Then steeply down hill to the famous land mark “The Needles”, three huge white rocks sticking up from the sea with a lighthouse at the end. Here we had quite a long lunch over looking the sea and feeding three rooks, who must have thought it was Christmas already. From here we turned the corner of the point, past Needles Battery along to Alum Bay with all the different coloured cliffs, looking great in the sunshine. A big contrast to the white cliffs we had just passed.

Off again up Headon Warren looking back on the best view of the day of the Needles, along through lots of gorse bushes, eventually down to the sea at Totland Bay. The weather turning a lot colder by now, past Brambles Farm through a holiday camp site looking more like a prison to me! Then through Fort Victoria Country Park, which looked like an old railway route through the woods. Later arriving in the sunshine at our finish for the day, at the marina in Yarmouth. A great days walking!


Terry Pilkington


                                                                                                 Day 3.

                                                                                  Yarmouth to West Cowes


Another lovely sunny day welcomed the walkers as we set out from Yarmouth in the capable hands of Helen as leader.

A short bit of promenade walking at brisk pace & beach led us away from coast thro' Boulder Copse. At Lr. Hampstead Copse crossing duckboards amongst marshes, the group stretched out & saw glimpses of Newtown River & nature Reserve.

We had a short break in woodland then off along good tracks, passing farms, one named Pigeon Coo Farm, but saw none. Moving on round wetlands we reached Shalfleet (on coach route) and turned towards Newtown. A pony & trap caused a stir as it trotted past headed by a horse & rider. Point of interest; Newtown Old Town Hall, historic building, shortly followed by gate signed 'Pickpockets' raised a grin..

Crossing field to avoid rifle range, reached Porchfield & lunchstop at Sportsman's Rest. Then on to Thorness Bay on path edging huge campsite, the largest so far which led to a wide beach with windsurfing on show. Mixed shingle & sand stretch to ascend to a hedged path & sight of old caravan/chalet dwellings, all different on sloping fields.

Gurnard Bay signalled the end was in sight & we moved on to Princes Esplanade, opened in 1926, Egypt Esplanade with lion statue, old Victorian Water fountain showing page from Bible, cannons pointing seaward for race starts at Cowes Yachting Regatta, saw none under sail today, led us on to Cowes castle & harbour at mouth of R. Medway, finish of this stage lasting 18 mls.


                                                                          Val Walmsley                              




                                                                                                                   Day 4.

                                                                                   Friday 28 April 2017 - East Cowes to Shanklin.


The last leg. East Cowes to Shanklin. The weather did not desert us and it was another fine and sunny day for the final 22 miles. As the majority set off on the long pull up the busy York Avenue, four keen walkers added a few yards by taking the floating bridge to yesterday's halt, catching up with the party later. After the peaceful turn to Whippingham, and Wootton Creek, we passed the familiar Fishbourne Ferry Terminal. We were glad to stop for coffee shortly afterwards in the grounds of Quarr Abbey, in the company of several of the Abbey pigs.

Our next stop was Ryde, approached by the Ladies Walk and a housing estate. This was an opportunity for seaside postcard photographs. The views from the promenade were exhilarating with memories of Rivington in the shape of Appley Tower. After Puckpool Point, and the aptly named Norman’s Landing we reached Nettlestone Point and Seaview for lunch.  Here there is a plaque commemorating the fact that troop ships sailed from Seaview to Normandy on D Day 6 June 1944.

After St Helens we crossed the old golf course links, and the River Yar on the causeway (built 1878), to Bembridge. The path follows the awkward shingle beach to the new  RNLI station and then takes a diversion round the Bembridge Hotel and Leisure Centre. The path moves away from the shoreline for a while, but Culver Down and the monument to the Earl of Yarborough (1849) are soon in sight. From this vantage point (99m) Shanklin can be seen in the distance. This view together with Norman’s promise that you can ‘roll a marble the rest of the way’ raised the spirits.

We regrouped at Sandown and made our way to the hotel together to receive a warm welcome and congratulations  from our esteemed leader. Another  great week of walking in excellent company. Roll on next year.


Ken Beevers