January is here again, and at the risk of making new year’s resolutions we can’t keep, we’re ditching the fad diets and making the most of this beautiful Island by getting out into the great outdoors.
And what better excuse could there be to gather up the family for a crisp winter walk, than having a finish point with a cosy fireplace, a list of real ales and roast dinners. And this Island has them in abundance.
Whether you fancy a walk along one of the Island’s beautiful beaches, or through forests and fields, the Isle of Wight Ramblers website is bursting with downloadable walks for you to enjoy. You can search for child-friendly walks, as well as walks with dining establishments along the way. You can even search based on the distance you feel like walking. So why not pull on your boots and burn off your Christmas turkey in the Island’s picturesque green spaces.
Here’s some of Beacon Magazine’s favourite walks, which you can enjoy across the Isle of Wight…
Starting at the very beautiful Freshwater Bay, we love to walk the three miles (depending where you start and finish) along the old railway line to The Kings Head, in Yarmouth. Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the River Yar and estuary birds.
How about walking The Culver Trail — a 3.75 mile circular walk, which will take you around two hours. The route begins and finishes at the iconic Bembridge Windmill. This walk has a number of steep sections, and some stiles to climb, so bear that in mind before you head off. We love Caulkheads — perfect for families with little ones — and The Crab and Lobster Inn.
We love the short walk from Newport, along the River Medina to The Stag on Cowes Road (perfect for those with pups), or further on to Cowes to stop in at any one of the many pubs in the charming old town.
In the south of the Island, there’s a wonderful route along the seafront from Ventnor to Bonchurch. You’ll find traditional Isle of Wight pubs in abundance at both ends of the route. We love The Spyglass Inn.
Along the Red Squirrel Trail, from Cowes to Sandown, you’ll find a choice of smaller walks, which can be joined together, meaning you can walk as much or as little as you wish. Along the way you’ll find plenty of wildlife, as you walk through woodland and farmland, past estuaries and along the coastline. Make a stop at the IW Donkey Sanctuary, which is a lovely walk from Shanklin along the old railway line. On Sunday, January 5th, bring your pup along and join in with the Donkey Sanctuary’s ‘Walk Your Dog Day’.
Tapnell Farm has a great circular trail, starting and finishing at The Cow restaurant. Work up an appetite while enjoying stunning views over East Afton Downs and beyond.
You might fancy a quiet stroll alone, or with friends and family — or you may prefer to walk as part of a group. The Isle of Wight Ramblers welcome people of all ages to become a member and join their planned walks. The Island has a total of 510 members across two groups — The Isle of Wight Group and the Wight Sole Group (which is aimed at the 20 to 40 age group). Every week, the groups organise walks across the Island and even on the mainland. Find out more online at www.iowramblers.com or www.wightsole.org.uk.
These are just a few of the many hundreds of walks across the Island, which can be enjoyed all year round, so grab your walking boots and get out into the countryside, away from electronic devices for a few precious hours. It’s perfect for raising the endorphins and to start 2020 off on the right foot.
Image courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight
Walking Festivals coming up in 2020
Walk the Wight
Walk the Wight celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and will hold an extra special walk on Sunday, May 10th. Visit www.mountbatten.org.uk to find out more.
The Isle of Wight Walking Festival
The Isle of Wight Walking Festival will take place from the 2nd-17th May. Find out more at www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk
Isle of Wight Challenge
Stunning coastal path. Walk, jog, or run it.
2nd-3rd May. www.isleof wight challenge.com