Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Four) - Brading

The Brading walk embraces town and country over a distance of just under three and a quarter miles (5.2 kms), taking in scenic hills and farmland as well as the charming, if traffic-laden main street. It starts at the car park at the top end of town, just past the Bugle Inn.

1. Exiting from the car park, turn right onto the main road and then cross over. Take the next left at the junction into Coach Lane and continue into West Lane past the East Lodge of Nunwell House.

2. Once past the East Lodge, exit the street immediately into a narrow Footpath B23 and follow this across an open field towards a stile at the opposite fence. After climbing the stile follow the path across a second field, bearing right and over another stile into a smaller field, descending before finally emerging onto a small road just north of Nunwell Farm. Turn left and follow the road past the farm until you reach the West Lodge of Nunwell House on your left.

3. Immediately opposite Nunwell House is Bridleway B59. Follow this around the edge of the Rookery, then bear left into Kelly's Copse. Take up this path until it forks, with the left fork continuing along and the right being Bridleway B23 (unmarked). At this point one has the option either of remaining on the existing path or of taking a scenic detour up to a point where a panoramic view of Sandown Bay can be observed. If taking this diversion bear right onto the Downs at the top of B23 and cross the field to the main Downs road. Cross over the road to see Sandown Bay. Then retrace your steps to the junction with Bridleway B39.

4. If not taking the scenic diversion, just continue along the lower bridleway and look out for a yellow footpath arrow indicating a narrow track rising into the denser wooded area (this is Footpath B60 but this fact is no longer indicated on the sign). Follow this raised track, taking great care as it overlooks a steep drop on the left hand side. When this meets Bridleway B39 (again not indicated, but obvious), turn left and follow until emerging from the woodland and descending along the northern periphery of Nunwell Down, past Little Jane's Cottage and left into Mall Road.

5. Continue along the street as far as the Bullring, then continue up the High Street past the Bugle Inn. The car park will shortly come into view on your right.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Three) - Yarmouth and Freshwater

For a relaxing walk inland and away from the pollution and activity of the busier population centres, this 4 mile (6.3 kilometer) route is one of the more interesting, embracing an outward stroll beside the River Yar and a return journey taking in a historic church, a farm and some woodland, with an abundance and wide variety of wildlife almost throughout the walk.

1. Starting at the large car park by the roundabout on the Yarmouth seafront by the Wightlink terminal, head inline beside the Yar and join Footpath Y1 passing the Old Tidal Mill. After a short walk along the path with the river to your right, pass through a gate to join Footpath Y19. Bear right and follow this path all the way until reaching Freshwater Causeway Bridge – the first and only inland bridge that you will encounter. Please note that wheelchair users will need to turn at this point and complete the route by heading back alongs Footpath Y19 and Y1, as the remainder of the walk is unsuitable.

2. Once across the bridge, climb the hill and pass the church, stopping before reaching the Red Lion pub (unless the call of the aforementioned hostelry is too great, in which case by all means stop to refuel). Take Footpath F1 which runs immediately beside the wall of the church and then continues as a fenced path between two fields (if you're lucky you may see some pheasants!). Pass through a gate and continue along the line, with a row of houses to your left. Immediately before the farm turn left through a gate, and then bear right into and across the field towards a belt of woodland, where Footpath F1 is again indicated.

3. The path soon leaves the woodland into more open terrain and a dedicated track, passing over a small hill before reaching a tiny footbridge into the woods, out onto a field, through another gate and then another field, with an improvised track and a small continuous fence immediately to your right. This leads you into Saltern Wood, which is entered keeping the wood to your left.

4. Soon a narrow access road is reached at which one should turn left, continuing along to the main road. From here you will see the car park to your right, which can be reached by crossing Yarmouth Bridge. Then either continue into Yarmouth town to conclude your walk with a well-earned drink or cuppa, or simply return to the car park by the roundabout.

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Two) - Gurnard and Cowes

This walk begins at the Woodvale Hotel in Gurnard, on the Island’s north coast, and is disabled-friendly as it uses a flat paved surface throughout. At 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) it should take most walkers less than an hour, although being linear rather than circular there is the small matter of getting back to the starting point if you have travelled there by car!

1. From the Woodvale simply walk down to Princes Esplanade and follow along to Egypt Point and continue along the Esplanade. This path continues along the seafront into Cowes, around the Royal Yacht Squadron and then along The Parade, where the coastal walk concludes and forces a right turn into Watch House Lane. From there turn left and follow the High Street through the pedestrianised area.

2. Opposite the entrance to the Red Funnel foot passenger terminal is The Pier View public house, passing which the walk continues along the High Street to The Anchor on your right.

That’s it, basically, but energetic walkers seeking a little more can simply double up with a pleasant walk back along the coast to Gurnard and the Woodvale, where one can enjoy a rewarding pint or walk down to the coast opposite to the seaside cafĂ© which offers delicious local ice creams as well as teas, coffees and light snacks.