This walk explores the far west of the Isle of Wight. The route climbs to the Tennyson's Monument set high on Tennyson Down before walking to the viewpoint overlooking the Needles. In addition you get fine views of Alum Bay.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A)The start is the small car park located in a quarry (grid ref. SZ324856) at the end of the lane that runs south past Nodewell farm just off the minor road running from Freshwater Bay to Alum Bay. After parking, take the path that is on the eastern side of the carpark (the left hand side as you enter the parking area). This leads steeply in places up through woodland into open downland with the impressive Tennyson Monument ahead of you. From here the view extends along the southern coast of the Isle of Wight.
(1)From the monument turn west walking with the sea to the left. Remember there are high unprotected cliffs so care is needed with children. There is a main ridge path and a lesser used path that follows the cliffs more closely. Take the latter eventually reaching a stile in a wire fence (grid ref. SZ318851). Cross the stile and continue now with a fence between you and the cliffs. Continue in a westerly direction aiming for the radio mast ahead.
(2)Cross the fence here, pass the radio station and drop down on a stony path to a concrete road. Bear left and then turn right on a concrete path to the observation point for the Needles. This area was used for rocket testing in the 1960s and 70s and there are some information boards detailing this piece of modern history. The observation post offers the best view of the Needles from the land.
(3)Return to the concrete road and bear left. This will lead you round to the Needles Old Battery now managed by the National Trust. In season there are refreshments available here. To continue walk up to the old coastguard cottages and take the path that goes behind them. This leads you back onto the downs. Instead of dropping down to the clifftop path used on the outward route stay on the crest of the ridge. This path offers some excellent views across Alum Bay to the mainland.
(4)Reaching a junction of paths at a fence (grid ref. SZ318853) continue ahead and take the chalk track veering left away from the main ridge path which continues towards the Tennyson Monument. This track leads easily back to the car park.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 266ft - Start: car park by Nodewell Farm
1 : mi 0.18 - alt. 407ft - Tennyson's Monument
2 : mi 0.56 - alt. 243ft - Continue west towards radio mast
3 : mi 1.94 - alt. 335ft - Needles Old Battery
4 : mi 3.25 - alt. 335ft - Junction: continue ahead
D/A : mi 3.66 - alt. 266ft - Finish: car park by Nodewell Farm
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The chalk downs at the western end of the Isle of Wight offer some excellent walking. This route starts from Freshwater Bay and visits the Tennyson Monument before continuing to the Needles at the Far end of the island. The route also offers a good view of Alum Bay and on the final descent a grand panorama looking east along the coast to St Catherine's Point.
Along the route there are views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the Needles and opportunities to watch the ever-changing bird life of Keyhaven Marshes. The path then cuts inland to follow an ancient highway behind the reserve before returning to Keyhaven.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.