Walk 2414 - printer friendly version
Compton Down and Five Barrows from Compton Chine Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.0 miles / 8.1 km
Ascent - 550 feet / 167 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SZ370851
Lat 50.664402 + Long -1.47785
Postcode PO30 4HF (approx. location only)
The western end of the Isle of Wight is dominated by chalk downs that culminate in the Needles. This walk explores a section of these downs offering extensive views in all directions but sadly not extending as far as the Needles. Generally the paths are well walked although the section along the high downs is not very busy and you could well have sections of the walk to yourself.
The start is the small pay and display car park (grid ref. SZ370851) on the east side of the A3055 main coastal road from Freshwater to Ventnor. After parking cross the road to the footpath sign and continue to the coastal footpath. Turn right and walk west with the sea on your left. The path descends in Compton Chine before climbing onto the cliffs and the A3055 road. The coastal path continues to Freshwater but this walk leaves the coastal path and crosses the main road to continue to climb onto Compton Down.
The climb looks worse than it is and you are soon high above the sea enjoying extensive views especially south east along the coast. The path reaches a clear track with a signpost (grid ref. SZ359857). Turn sharp right almost back on yourself to continue climbing with the golf course on either side of the track. It is worth spending a few minutes taking in the view west at the signpost as this view diminishes in quality as the walk progresses. The day this walk was researched, visibility was quite hazy but the view west still extended well beyond the Tennyson Monument.
Continuing east along the main ridge track you can get wide views ahead and these can be enjoyed all the way along the ridge to the trig point at Five Barrows (grid ref. SZ390851). Careful inspection of the immediate surroundings will help you spot the remains of these barrows or burial chambers. From the trig point you can also work out the next section of the walk, which can be easy to get wrong.
The route continues by dropping steeply down the southern flank of Five Barrows (i.e. towards the sea). It is quite easy to zig-zag down the slope. At the foot of the slope is a track that heads towards Compton Farm. This might be tempting but is not a right of way. Instead continue towards the field boundary to pick up a bridleway adjacent to the fence/hedge. Turn right onto this bridleway and continue down to Compton Farm. All that remains is to walk back to the main road and the car park.