Guidebook

Soak in Views on the Isle of Wight Coastal Path

Escape the grind with this scenic coastal walk around England's largest island.

Description

Tired of all the hustle and bustle of city life? Here’s a better alternative: Dust off your hiking boots and hop on a ferry to the Isle of Wight! This hidden gem is as dramatic and wild on the coasts as it is quaint and bustling in the small villages and towns peppered across the landscape.

The Coastal Path covers about 107 kilometres and is chock full of secluded beaches, impressive seaside cliffs, historic monuments, and more. Not to mention, numerous nature reserves make it a unique place for exploring diverse plant species and wildlife, so there’s a bit of something for everyone. The island was even designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1963, and two of its coasts were recognized as Heritage Coasts for their unspoilt natural beauty. The journey from London to Portsmouth, where you can catch a ferry to Ryde, is around two hours, so this is the perfect island getaway that isn’t actually so far away!

If you’re super keen and on the hunt for a real workout, you can hike the coast in about 4 days, but if you’re more into sauntering around the island, poking around in the smaller villages, and soaking in the views, the official Isle of Wight Tourism website recommends spreading it out over 6 days. We've broken it up into 7 days with distances ranging from 12 to 20 km per day.

Start off by warming up your legs with a gentle 13.8-km walk from Ryde to Cowes, where you’ll pass through two historic towns, stroll past abbey ruins, a former royal residence, and a modern-day vineyard.

Overall, the Coastal Path is relatively gentle with undulating hills except for the southern coast where it traverses the downs and a couple short steep climbs and descents on both sides of Chimes. End your walk by returning to Ryde, Isle of Wight’s largest town, where Union Street and Ryde High showcase a range of international cuisines and proper English pubs to celebrate the end of your journey.

Source: https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/walking/walking-routes

Ryde to Cowes

Ryde to Cowes

13.8 km211 m211 m
A nice easy walk from Ryde to Cowes, passing through Wootton Bridge and around Osborne House before crossing the River Medina. Arriving in Cowes it is a pleasant stroll along the pedestrianised High Street arriving at the esplanade with good views of the Solent.
Private
Cowes to Shalfleet

Cowes to Shalfleet

14.2 km174 m164 m
This walk follows the sea front westwards out of Cowes to Gurnard Bay. Then along the coast path proper, down to Thorness Bay with excellent views of the Solent and across to Hampshire. From here the route takes you inland, across farmland to the small hamlet of Newtown then on to Shalfleet.
Private
Shalfleet to Yarmouth

Shalfleet to Yarmouth

12.3 km153 m164 m
Starting at Shalfleet Church, the walk follows the western shores of the Newtown River, then along the coast above Bouldnor cliff. From here it descends through woodland into Bouldnor village and along past Yarmouth Bay and into the town itself.
Private
Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay

Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay

15.0 km326 m324 m
Leaving Yarmouth, the route crosses the harbour and through the Victoria Country Park. From here the coastal path follows Colwell and Totland Bays and then goes up and over Headon Warren towards the Needles. From this iconic landmark, the path turns eastwards over Tennyson Downs, arriving in Freshwater Bay.
Private
Freshwater Bay to Chale

Freshwater Bay to Chale

18.5 km346 m270 m
Leaving Freshwater Bay the route climbs over Freshwater Cliff and follows the coastline south eastwards towards St. Catherine's Point. The coastal path is almost straight, passing Compton and Brightstone Bays to finish in the small village of Chale.
Private
Chale to Sandown

Chale to Sandown

20.2 km446 m524 m
Leaving Chale the route follows the cliff line above St Catherine's Point before descending through St Lawrence to the coast. From here the path leads into Ventnor and through the Luccombe Landslip to Shanklin. From Shanklin the coastal path follows the Eastcliffe Promenade before descending down to finish at Sandown Pier.
Private
Sandown to Ryde

Sandown to Ryde

19.8 km254 m261 m
Leaving Sandown the route ascends up and over Bembridge Down with great views in every direction, then down into Bembridge itself. From here the path goes around the harbour and along the coast to the pretty resort of Seaview and on into Ryde, to finish back at the pier.
Private