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Isle of Wight AONB Walk
The Needles & Tennyson's Monument from Freshwater Bay

Region - Isle of Wight AONB

County/Area - Isle of Wight

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km    Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres

Time - 3 hours 40 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - The Needles & Tennyson's Monument from Freshwater Bay
Click image to visit gallery of 12 images.

Starting from Freshwater Bay this walk crosses Tennyson Down to explores the wonderful chalk cliffs and downs at the western end of the Isle of Wight. The start is the pay and display car park in opposite the beach at Freshwater Bay (grid ref. SZ346858) just off the A3055.

After parking exit the car park to the beach. Facing the sea, turn right and walk along the road to the public conveniences and turn left up the signed footpath along a lane. This climbs steadily and quite soon you leave the lane for the open downs. Do remember there are high unprotected cliffs so care is needed with children. Following the clear path ahead you soon see the Tennyson Monument ahead of you. From here the view extends along the southern coast of the Isle of Wight.

From the monument there is a main ridge path veering slightly right and a lesser used green path that veers slightly to follow the cliffs more closely. Take the latter eventually reaching a stile in a wire fence (grid ref. SZ318851). Cross the stile and continue now with a fence between you and the cliffs. Continue in a westerly direction aiming for the radio mast ahead.

Cross the fence here, pass the radio station and drop down on a stony path to a concrete road. Bear left and then turn right on a concrete path to the observation point for the Needles. This area was used for rocket testing in the 1960s and 70s and there are some information boards detailing this piece of modern history. The observation post offers the best view of the Needles from the land.

Return to the concrete road and bear left. This will lead you round to the Needles Old Battery now managed by the National Trust. In season there are refreshments available here. To continue walk up to the old coastguard cottages and take the path that goes behind them. This leads you back onto the downs. Instead of dropping down to the clifftop path used on the outward route stay on the crest of the ridge. This path offers some excellent views across Alum Bay to the mainland.

Reaching a junction of paths at a fence (grid ref. SZ318853), bear slightly right and continue along the main ridge path to the Tennyson Monument. You have now rejoined the outward route and all that remains is a gentle descent to the start with some excellent views east along the coast.


Other walks nearby

Walk 2223 The Needles & Tennyson's Monument from Nodewell Farmeasy4.0 miles
Walk 2414 Compton Down and Five Barrows from Compton Chineeasy/mod5.0 miles
Walk 1546 Freshwater and Norton from Yarmouth, IOWeasy5.0 miles
Walk 3541 Keyhaven & Hurst Castleeasy3.3 miles
Walk 2435 Compton Down from Brighstone circular moderate12.5 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking on the Isle of Wight

Walking on the Isle of WightGuidebook to 33 walking routes on the beautiful Isle of Wight, from 4 to 18 miles long. The routes are suitable for all abilities and are accessible all year round. Includes a complete circuit of the island's spectacular coast as well as walks exploring forest trails and downland, and visiting the towns of Yarmouth, Cowes and Ventnor.
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The National Trails

The National TrailsThis inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.
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Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Isle of Wight AONB Walking

The Isle of Wight is much bigger than a lot of people think: 24 miles from east to west and 14 miles north to south. Its 60 miles of coastline contains a wide variety of landscapes, from chalk downland to sandy beaches via marshes, salt flats and ancient woodland. Inland the rolling downlands provide some superb walking. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Rockstone Cottage
Freshwater
1.5 miles / 2.4 km away
Isle of Wight Guru
Isle of Wight
9.6 miles / 15.3 km away
The Hermitage Hotel
Ventnor
10.4 miles / 16.7 km away
Wight Wanders Walking Holidays
Cowes
10.5 miles / 16.8 km away
St Maur Hotel
Isle of Wight
14.1 miles / 22.6 km away

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