15 Best Walks on the Isle of Wight (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks on the Isle of Wight (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

The Isle of Wight is a beautiful island that offers a variety of stunning walks and hikes.

From the historic Tennyson Trail to the tranquil Bembridge Heritage Trail, the Isle of Wight has something for everyone.

Here, I’ve compiled the 15 best walks in the Isle of Wight, perfect for a variety of skill levels.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking to get out and explore, these walks will give you the chance to enjoy the island’s natural beauty in all its glory.

So grab your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Tennyson Trail

Tennyson Trail towards Mottistone Down
Photo by Ian S

Take a stroll through history with the Tennyson Trail – an 8.5 mile walk through stunning countryside!

This trail takes you through some of the Isle of Wight’s most beautiful and remote locations, including areas of historical interest.

Most of the trail is off-road, taking you through fields, woods and coast paths, and is suitable for both experienced hikers and those looking for a leisurely stroll.

Along the way, you’ll be able to explore the natural beauty of the island, from hidden woodland glades to sandy beaches and spectacular views over the English Channel.

You’ll also come across some of the island’s most famous landmarks, including The Needles, Tennyson Down, and the iconic Needles Lighthouse.

With plenty of stops along the way for refreshments and places to take in the views, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on the Tennyson Trail.

The Needles Coastal Walk

Hurst Castle Spit and the Needles, Isle of Wight
Photo by Dan Friess

Experience the breathtaking views of the Needles Coastal Walk! Enjoy the spectacular scenery as you make your way along this stunning route.

This walk takes you along the southern coastal path of the Isle of Wight, beginning at Alum Bay and ending at the Needles Battery.

This 6-mile walk is not for the faint of heart as it is a steep and strenuous route. Along the route, you’ll get to witness the iconic Needles rock formation, made up of three towering chalk stacks, as well as the white cliffs of Alum Bay.

It’s a great way to take in the beauty of the Isle of Wight.

The Needles Coastal Walk is a great way to get out in nature and explore the beauty of the Isle of Wight.

The route is full of stunning views of the sea and the picturesque chalk cliffs.

The terrain is quite rugged and it’s important to wear the proper shoes and clothing for the hike.

You also need to be aware of the weather conditions, as the cliffs can be dangerous in bad weather.

However, with the right preparation, you can have an amazing experience exploring this stunning coastal path.

St Catherine’s Oratory

St Catherine's Oratory
Photo by Dan Friess

Discover the beauty of St Catherine’s Oratory as you take in the spectacular views from the clifftop! It is one of the most popular walks on the Isle of Wight and with good reason.

The clifftop walk takes you past this 12th-century chapel and the ruins of a nearby World War II gun emplacement. It offers up breathtaking views of the English Channel and the Needles. The oratory is also home to a lighthouse tower, which was built in 1832 to replace an earlier one destroyed in a storm. The panoramic views of the sea, the chalk cliffs, and the iconic Needles make this a must-see destination.

The walk continues, taking you around the headland to the Tennyson Monument and then further to Alum Bay. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of the best-preserved sections of the island’s coastline. You can even explore the old Iron Age fort, which was once used to protect the island from invasion.

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With its stunning scenery and rich history, St Catherine’s Oratory is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge Heritage Trail

Stroll along the Bembridge Heritage Trail and explore the area’s rich history! Starting at the picturesque fishing village of Bembridge, you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of the Solent Estuary.

As you follow the trail, you’ll come across a number of historical sites, including the Iron Age Fort of the Bembridge Down, and the remains of the historic Bembridge Windmill.

Along the way, you’ll also get to enjoy some of the local wildlife, as the trail follows the shoreline of the nearby Bembridge Harbour. You’ll be able to relax in the fresh sea air and take in the abundance of birdlife, while admiring the beautiful views of the harbour and the surrounding countryside.

The trail is a great way to explore some of the Isle of Wight’s hidden gems, while getting some exercise at the same time.

Brighstone Forest

Explore Brighstone Forest and be captivated by its majestic beauty! This ancient woodland is full of secrets waiting to be discovered, as you wander amongst the trees and marvel at the surrounding scenery.

The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, badgers, and birds. With its wide array of trees, ferns, and shrubs, the beauty of the forest is breathtaking. A stroll through the woodland will also uncover ruins of Victorian buildings, providing an insight into the area’s past.

There are several paths and trails that traverse the forest, making it an ideal location for a peaceful walk. On your journey, you may even find yourself encountering the famous Brighstone Donkey, a local mascot!

Brighstone Forest is a great place to explore, with its stunning scenery and abundance of wildlife.

Shanklin to Ventnor

Take a leisurely journey along the coastal path from Shanklin to Ventnor and enjoy the beautiful views of the Isle of Wight. The walk is about two and a half miles long and will take just over an hour, depending on how often you stop to take in the scenery.

Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of rolling hills, picturesque valleys, and the azure blue waters of the English Channel. There are plenty of opportunities to take photos or simply sit back and relax, taking in the beauty of the Isle of Wight.

The path is lined with lush vegetation, providing plenty of shade for a hot day, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore is soothing and calming.

At the end of the walk, you’ll arrive in Ventnor, a quaint seaside town with a wealth of history and culture. Whether you choose to explore the town or simply relax on the beach, a trip from Shanklin to Ventnor is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Compton Bay

After exploring Shanklin to Ventnor, my next stop is the Compton Bay beach.

Located on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, Compton Bay is a stunning stretch of beach with miles of unspoiled coastline.

The beach is renowned for its spectacular white cliffs, which offer a great view of the English Channel and the nearby Needles.

I love exploring the shoreline here, where the rolling hills and shoreline cliffs create a unique landscape.

Plus, the beach is known as a great spot for fossil-hunting, so you can find some interesting specimens while you’re walking around.

It’s also a great place to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the fresh sea air.

If you’re looking for a peaceful and picturesque walk, Compton Bay is definitely the place to go.

Carisbrooke Castle

Visiting Carisbrooke Castle is a must during a trip to the Isle of Wight. Perched atop a hill overlooking the village of Carisbrooke, this castle is an impressive sight. It was once a refuge for the monarchy, and now is a fascinating location to explore.

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Inside, you can visit the museum devoted to the castle’s history or wander around the gardens and grounds. There are also guided tours available that provide an in-depth look at the castle’s past.

Carisbrooke Castle is also perfect for a pleasant stroll. The building is surrounded by acres of green grass and a moat, and you can take a leisurely walk around the grounds and admire the scenic views.

The castle is close to a number of other historical sites, so it’s easy to combine a visit here with other attractions. A day spent exploring Carisbrooke Castle is an unforgettable experience.

Ventnor Downs

Ventnor Downs is a wonderful place to explore, offering stunning views and plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors. It’s situated on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight, and is an area of chalk downland, with plenty of trails and pathways to explore.

You can take a leisurely stroll across the Downs, or opt for a more challenging hike along the winding trails – whichever you choose, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.

There are plenty of benches and picnic spots dotted around the Downs, so you can take a break and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Ventnor Downs is also a great spot for birdwatching, with a wide variety of species to be seen.

With its wide open spaces and peaceful atmosphere, Ventnor Downs is a great place to explore and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Red Squirrel Trail

Leaving Ventnor Downs behind, we now turn our attention to The Red Squirrel Trail, a lovely walk on the west coast of the Isle of Wight.

This 4.5 mile trail begins in the charming village of Niton and winds its way through the countryside, past fields, woodland and a beech tree plantation.

Along the way, you’ll be able to spot a variety of wildlife, such as the local red squirrels, who are often spotted scurrying around the trees or gathering nuts.

The trail is also home to a variety of birds, including woodpeckers, buzzards and even kestrels.

The trail is well-maintained, and the paths are easy to follow, making it a great choice for a family walk.

The terrain is mostly flat, with a few gentle slopes, so it’s suitable for all fitness levels.

At the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views of the south coast and the Needles lighthouse.

The Red Squirrel Trail is a great way to explore the countryside of the Isle of Wight and experience its natural beauty.

The Isle of Wight Coastal Path

For an unbeatable outdoor experience, the Isle of Wight Coastal Path is the perfect choice! This path takes you all around the island, revealing some of the most breathtaking and serene views of the island’s landscape.

It stretches from the South West of the island all the way up to the North East, and offers a variety of routes to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike, the Coastal Path has something for you.

The Coastal Path is a great way to explore the island and its many hidden gems, as it passes through stunning beaches, rugged cliffs, picturesque villages, and ancient forests.

Along the way, you can enjoy spectacular views of the English Channel and Isle of Wight’s many landmarks. The path is also well marked and maintained, making it safe and easy to follow.

With its beautiful scenery and variety of terrain, the Isle of Wight Coastal Path provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the best the island has to offer.

Afton Marsh

Take a stroll through Afton Marsh and discover a hidden oasis of lush greenery and tranquil beauty. This delightful marsh is the perfect place to while away a few hours, ideal for a long walk or a pleasant picnic.

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It is located on the western edge of the Isle of Wight, and is full of wildflowers, wildlife, and meandering pathways that will take you on a journey of discovery. The marsh is a haven for birdwatchers, and you might spot some rare species as you wander around.

The views of the surrounding countryside are breathtaking, and the peace and quiet make it the perfect spot for a moment of reflection. Whether you’re on foot or on your bike, Afton Marsh is a wonderful place to explore and appreciate the beauty of the Isle of Wight.

Newtown National Nature Reserve

Experience a serene oasis of lush greenery and diverse wildlife at Newtown National Nature Reserve.

This National Nature Reserve is located on the Isle of Wight and is home to many different species of plants, mammals, and amphibians. It’s a great place to go for a leisurely walk and explore the stunning scenery.

The Reserve covers an area of approximately 45 hectares and is a haven for wildlife. There are a variety of habitats within the Reserve, including woodland, grassland, and marshy areas. You’ll be able to spot birds, bats, butterflies, and other wildlife as you explore.

There are also plenty of wildflowers throughout the Reserve, making it a great place to take some photos. The trails are well-marked and easy to follow, making it a great place for beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Yarmouth to Freshwater

Discover the beauty of the Isle of Wight’s southern coast by taking a stroll from Yarmouth to Freshwater.

Starting in Yarmouth, you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of the Solent and the Needles as you enjoy the gentle inclines leading towards Freshwater.

Along the way, you’ll also be able to enjoy the unique landscapes of the National Trust’s Alum Bay, which is only accessible on foot.

Further along the path, you’ll find yourself passing through the picturesque village of Freshwater, where you can stop off for a rest or take a break to explore some of the local shops and attractions.

The entire walk is roughly 6 miles and can take between 2 and 4 hours depending on your pace.

With its breathtaking scenery, interesting history, and wildlife, this walk is sure to provide a memorable experience that you’ll never forget.

Medina Valley Centre Nature Trail

Explore the Medina Valley Centre Nature Trail to uncover the hidden beauty of the Isle of Wight’s countryside. This popular walking route is 5.1 miles long, passing through some of the most picturesque countryside in the area.

The trail is a combination of woodland walks, riverside paths, and stunning views of the surrounding area. Along the way, you’ll be able to spot plenty of wildlife, including badgers, foxes, and birds of prey such as kestrels.

You’ll also be able to explore some of the old settlement ruins, including the remains of a Roman villa.

The Medina Valley Centre Nature Trail is an ideal way to get out and explore the stunning Isle of Wight countryside. The trail is well-marked, making it easy to follow, and offers a variety of terrain to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, the trail offers something for everyone. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and take in the views.

So why not grab your walking boots and explore the Medina Valley Centre Nature Trail today?

Conclusion

I’ve hiked all around the Isle of Wight and it’s amazing. There’s so much natural beauty, and it’s not hard to find a great walk.

The 15 trails I’ve listed here are some of the best the island has to offer. From the coastal walk of The Needles to the peaceful Brighstone Forest, each offers something unique and special.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, one of these trails is sure to fit the bill.

So why not take a walk and explore the Isle of Wight for yourself? You won’t be disappointed.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.