An island retreat close to home at the Isle of Wight
Walking is popular among
visitors to the Isle of Wight
by Lynn Cox
There is something special about visiting an island - and
the Isle of Wight is no exception.
I visited during a recent Walking Weekend, and found it has
everything a walker could ask for and more - with beautiful
beaches, stunning cliffs and hundreds of public footpaths to
My partner Keith and I started out on our first trek in
Fishbourne, and walked along to Quarr Abbey. Founded in 1132, the
abbey was the centre of life on the island until its dissolution by
Henry VIII, and it is now a working monastery.
A must is popping into the abbey tea rooms - where a hot latte
warmed us up a treat.
Later in the afternoon we travelled to Alverston Mead, near
Sandown, where we spotted lots of wildlife including red squirrels
while enjoying the stunning countryside.
Carisbrooke Castle on the
Isle of Wight
It was a bit chilly on the day we arrived, so we couldn't wait
to get to our accommodation at the luxury complex of Niton Barns,
in the village on Niton near Ventnor.
We were not disappointed. The eco-friendly Yarborough Barn was
luxurious and a welcome place to rest and warm up. The converted
16th century barns have everything you could possibility want for a
self-catering stay and we had several heavenly nights' sleep
Niton is a beautiful village and we popped down to the nearby
White Lion pub for a meal. Friday night is fish and chips night,
and the food was fresh and delicious.
In fact, throughout our stay we enjoyed meals at many wonderful
independent pubs around the small island, which provided hearty,
reasonably-priced fare to keep us going on our walks.
Horseshoe Bay on the Isle
These included ambling along the cliffs near Alum Bay and The
Needles. The views on this part of the island are spectacular,
especially with its coloured sands.
We then decided to visit Carisbrooke Castle near Newport as I'd
been there when I was a child. Walking around the castle wall
provides beautiful views of the surrounding area and we also
enjoyed popping in to see the donkeys on the donkey wheel in the
Another must-see is Osborne House in East Cowes. Walking around
the huge estate can take some time, especially now that Queen
Victoria's private beach is open, so if you are going to visit, go
early in the morning and spend all day there.
We both had a great weekend, and walking the many hidden
footpaths was truly a great way to see the island’s delightful
beaches, rolling countryside and wonderful picturesque
Lynn travelled courtesy of Wightlink Green Getaways (0871 376
0013 or www.wightlink.co.uk/greengetaways).
A three night weekend self-catering stay at Niton Barns costs
from £109 per person (based on four sharing) and includes return
Wightlink car ferry crossings from Portsmouth or Lymington.
Four night mid-week stays (Mon-Fri) and week-long breaks (Fri-Fri)
are also available.
Dogs are welcome at Niton Barns, charged at £30 per dog.
Lynn travelled on Wightlink’s 40-minute Portsmouth-Fishbourne
crossing, one of three routes. Car ferries also operate between
Lymington and Yarmouth (35 minutes) and there is a passenger
catamaran service from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pierhead (22
minutes) and dogs travel free on Wightlink ferries.
Leisure walkers can combine a dog-friendly break with the
chance to try out one of eight adventure-themed walks as featured
in Wightlink Wight Safaris booklet. Taking visitors off the beaten
track, the guide explores the hidden wilds of the Isle of Wight on
Wight Safaris are available free from Wightlink by calling 0871
3761000 or visiting www.wightlink.co.uk/wightsafaris.
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