|32 km/20 mi||545 m/1788 ft||Difficult|
|Train/Bus/Car||Shanklin Station||Upper Ventnor & Godshill|
Like all of my routes, they are best followed using ViewRanger
1. Shanklin to America Woods
2. America Woods to Ventnor RADAR Station
Cross the road, and go past the houses to join the Cycle Track. At the Cycle Track turn right.
Continue on the Cycle Track for 1.5 kilomteres, until the 2nd bridge. Just after the bridge, on the right, take the narrow track to the top of the bridge.
Turn right on the bridge and continue upwards towards the downs.
Eventually the path merges with several others, care is required here. You need to bear left and upwards on the V46 till you reach the wooden gate. Aim for the old quarry and gate across the field, then climb upwards alongside the quarry.
At the top bear left and upwards on the obvious path until you meet the distant hedgerow. Turn right, keeping the hedgerow on our left. Go through the two gates and continue onwards on the wide flint and chalk track which joins the edge of the Old Radar Station.
Although there are no RADAR facilities anymore, it is still known as Ventnor RADAR station. It now hosts many telecommunication facilities.
3. Ventnor RADAR Station to Freemantle Gate
Take a right and continue on the road past the RADAR station. After one kilometre the road drops steeply leftwards and downhill to reach the crossroads at the end of Down Lane. There is a shop 50 metres on your right here - if you need it. At the junction, turn left and downhill, taking the first right on to Steephill Down Road. Climb up on the road towards the Golf Course, until you join the V54A on your left. Follow this path until it joins the V55 where you turn right and steeply uphill.
When the track levels off, continue on the ridge, negotiating several gates, until the path joins a tarmac road. Continue onwards to the aerials. 200 metres past the first set of aerials continue left, on to the V51. Keeping the hedge on our right, continue downhill through a couple of gates until levels off at a five bar gate. Go through the gate and continue onwards, keeping to the edge of the field. After the open field, the path narrows and becomes undulating. Continue on this path until it reaches some tall metal deer gates.
Continue straight over, keeping the steep downs on your right until you reach a large stone arch called Freemantle Gate.
4. Freemantle Gate to Borthwood
You now will be following the well sign-posted Squirrel Trail for 4 kilometres.
Continue downhill, until the road at Godshill, (plenty of café’s here). Now take a left and almost immediately right. Keep to the Squirrel Trail, going past Billingham Manor, until you reach a bridge.
The Squirrel Trail leaves us at the Railway Bridge. You carry on!
Continue onwards towards a crossroads, next to Hillcroft Turf. Turn right on this bridleway, up towards Redhill Farm. At the top of the hill turn left, then right downhill till the path passes close to a house. Cross over and go through the field, (please don't use the road). After the field, go straight on, to join the Cycle Route 23/Squirrel Trail.
You now have 5 kilometres of flat riding, crossing 3 roads. Our last section will be from Alverstone to Sandown - where you leave the Squirrel Trail/Cycle Route 23.
When you meet the road and see the Cycle Route sign with '23 Sandown 1/4" mile, turn right, and uphill past the waterworks, and immediately take a right just after the brown 'Adgestone Camping' sign.
Continue no this bridleway crossing the river, then dog-legging around a field past Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve. Then turn right and uphill to join the top of Alverstone Shute.
At the road turn left for 400 metres, until the road bears sharply to the right.
5. Borthwood to Shanklin
Here you enter the National Trust wood Borthwood. Ignoring any signs about riding - this is a bridleway. Continue on the wide track straight through the wood. Taking care at the obvious fork, where you continue leftwards and straight on, till the edge of the wood.
At the edge of the wood you continue straight across the field through a couple of gates until you reach the busy main road - where you turn left, and downhill. Just past the airport entrance and over the bridge, take a right onto the bridleway by the white wall (Scotchells Lodge). Follow this bridleway through two gates, continuing straight on into the caravan park - re-tracing our steps back to the start.
Starting at Shanklin Train Station, the ride quickly takes in some woodland single track.
You then climb on to the highest point on the Isle of Wight and follow the downs until you descend on to the 'Squirrel Trail'. You stay on the Squirrel Trail for about an hour.
When you leave the trail, you continue on bridleways where you finish with a another section of woodland track.
If you come by via the Wightlink Portsmouth - Ryde Catamaran, it is possible to bring your bike right through to Shanklin on the train.
Ordnance Survey Map
1:25000 - Explorer OL29 - Isle of Wight
1:50000 - Landranger 196 - The Solent & Isle of Wight
Sat Nav: PO37 7AR
OSGB: SZ 580 818
You can bring your bike on the train from Ryde via Wightlink's Portsmouth - Ryde Catamaran route.
The only viable escape route is at Godshill where you can take the road back to Shanklin