|7 km/4.5 mi - Circular||566 m/1856 ft||Hard|
|Bus/Car/Train||St. Blasius Church||Numerous @ Ventnor|
A must do walk, for those who want to see the best the Isle of Wight scenery has to offer.
This route is best followed using ViewRanger
Park at the free car park at St. Blasius Church. The car park is busy during church services. On Sunday mornings you will probably not find a space. The alternative parking is in Priory Road, (back towards Shanklin and a 1st right).
1. St. Blasius Church to Shanklin Down.
Go through the graveyard cross the stiles and follow the SS10 The Worsley Trail footpath, uphill across the two stiles crossing the two fields.
The route now gets noticeably steeper. Continue upwards, keeping Cliff Copse on your right, passing the sign for 'Anne's Wood'.
After you go through the five bar gate and the stile. The path immediately levels off. Turn left leaving the SS10 path, to continue uphill on an non-signposted path: (SS11). Aim for the line of trees, then the path climbs diagonally upwards on this convex slope. The path is visible but not obvious. Keep gaining height will you reach the Trig point at Shanklin Down.
2. Shanklin Down to Upper Ventnor.
Continue West past the Trig Point for 80 metres to a stile in the hedge. Cross the stile and immediately turn left.
Continue on the ridge towards the aerials in the distance, and through the two five bar gates.
After the second gate by the National Trust 'Luccombe Down' sign turn left immediately and follow the obvious permissive path towards the sea until you reach a barbed wire fence. Turn right, and keep the barbed wire fence on your left until you reach the 90 degree corner of the fence. Turn left, and down the short slope. Turn right, and keep the gorse bushes on the small cliff on your right, until you reach the car park, close to the old Ventnor RADAR Station.
Caution! Many paths converge at this point. You are trying to reach the seaward side of the old Ventnor RADAR Station and follow its perimeter fence. In poor visibility, care is required, as it's easy to get lost.
Continue south and seaward to the signpost with the three signs: 'V42, V123, V113'. A few metres after the signpost you will see a path on your right, take this path to the corner of the RADAR Station. Go through the swing gate and follow the V1 Mitchell Avenue.
Continue on the path to the corner of the RADAR station. At the stiles, turn right and keep to the RADAR station fence until you reach the road. Cross the road, turn left, and follow the path on the right hand side of the road until the road turns left downhill.
Leave the road at the V5 Lowtherville, and keep left, and downhill. There are many permissive paths in this area, which can be confusing, just keep left and keep descending. When you rejoin the road at Down Lane. Continue downhill on Down Lane till you reach the main road. There is a Spar Shop 40 metres on your right.
3. Upper Ventnor to St. Lawrence.
Turn left on the main road, and downhill for 180 metres. Then turn right on to Steephill Down Road. Continue for 120 metres until you reach an almost hidden path, V64, in the gap in the gardens on your left. Take this path till its end, keeping close to the houses on your left at all times.
After 700 metres, the path joins Whitwell Road. Cross the road, and continue right on the path at the side of the road. Join the footpath at the the gap in the hedgerow. Continue right on the footpath that runs parallel to the Whitwell Road. After 1.5 kilometres, you reach the road at St. Lawrence Shute. Cross the road and immediately climb up again to rejoin the path.
You continue along the cliff top for just over 500 metres, where you take the V81 St. Lawrence. Descend the steps to join Seven Sisters Road. You now follow the Coastal Path signs.
You'll be following the Coastal Path for the rest of the route, except for a short, (optional) detour in the 'Landslip', and a small section at the end of the route. You can safely turn off any GPS device you have until reached the Landslip.
4. St. Lawrence to Ventnor
Turn left, and then right on to Spindlers Road. At the cross roads continue straight over the road to Old Park Road. Keep going left and turn left at the junction into Woolverton Road then follow the Coastal Path sign.
The Coastal Path is signposted well and easily followed. You'll drop down just past Ventnor Botanic Gardens, by the Cricket Ground to Steephill Cove, in the summer months there are several cafés open here
Continue left through the cove and along the sea wall to join the coastal path again towards Ventnor.
5. Ventnor to Bonchurch.
This section is very straight forward. You simply keep to the sea wall until you reach Bonchurch sea front.
6. Bonchurch to Devils Chimney, (OPTIONAL) & The Landslip.
Walk along the sea wall, and at the start of the last row of houses the Coastal Path takes you behind the houses. It is well worth making a few metres detour to St. Boniface church at the top of the path on your left.
Continue seaward on the Coastal Path until you reach a narrow swing gate. You are now entering the 'Landslip'. As its names suggests the area is very prone to slippage, and the path is sometimes closed. This doesn't happen very often though. As the path is constantly on the move, ignore the Satellite Navigation, and just follow the obvious path.
The next section is optional. It involves a steep climb up the 'Devils Chimney', an interesting chasm in the cliff. It will add twenty five minutes to the route. If you don't want to detour, ignore the GPS, and continue on the Coastal Path.
Continue through the Landslip until you reach until the V65C Devils Chimney. Take this steep path, and go through the narrow gap in the cliff . It can be difficult to see the narrow gap. do not turn right when you reach the bottom of the cliff go straight ahead. Enter the very narrow in the cliff face, and climb the steps up this narrow rock cleft. This is 'Devils Chimney'.
At the top of the cliff, the paths are permissive and somewhat undefined. Turn right and try and keep as close to the cliff edge as possible, (the path has given way places, so you might have to go into the gardens briefly) keep going till you reach another path, V65, which is unmarked except for a metal pole. This will drop you back into the 'Landslip'. If you reach the car park you've gone too far.
This path brings you to the edge of the Landslip. Do not go right, and back into the Landslip, but straight down the steps to the stone wall, and follow the path until you reach the narrow swing gate, at the end of the Landslip.
7. Luccombe to Shanklin
Continue on the Coastal Path past 'Dunnose Magna' house and tearooms, and the closed path to 'Luccombe Chine'.
The path will eventually end at Luccombe Road, and you will see the sweep of Sandown Bay. Continue down the road, and turn into Priory Road.
Turn left into Vaughan Road, and continue on the S91 till it reaches the road, and you'll see the church and your starting point on the right. Take care crossing the road here.
One of the best walks on the Island - in the authors opinion.
Starting with a hard pull up to 235m/770ft at Shanklin Down. You then follow the downland ridge to Upper Ventnor. You then continue inland on the Undercliff to St. Lawrence - where we drop down to join the Coastal Path. Path back to our start point, via Ventnor, and Bonchurch.
OSGB: SZ 579 805
Sat Nav: PO37 6RJ.
There are plenty of ways to shorten this route by turning left, on any marked path, towards the coast, on the sections before St. Lawrence, and continuing back via the Coastal Path.