- 2 hours 30 mins – 3 hours
- 6.5 miles (10.4 km)
- OS Maps: Landranger 196, Explorer OL29
- Dog friendly
Start at Bembridge Windmill lay-by (grid ref: SZ641875). Walk to the bend in the road and turn left to Bembridge Windmill. Walk downhill to Steyne Wood, home to red squirrels. Just 50yds (50m) into the wood, prior to the interpretation panel, bear left to follow a path which soon reaches a busy road. Cross over and go through a gate and continue on path signposted BB22 up a gentle rise past a caravan park to Hillway Road. Turn left up the road, then first right after 100yds (90m) into Jenny Street’s Lane. Follow the path signposted BB15, eventually meeting the coastal path after bending round a large, corrugated building.
Turn right and walk along the coastal path with stunning views of Whitecliff Bay. Pass BB16 on your right, then in open area, bear to the right of the seats and cross the top of the concrete ramp to follow the onward coastal path, keeping to the immediate right of the hedge and soon passing over a wooden bridge to the left of caravans. This is a rising path with some steps. Go through a kissing gate and follow the path diagonally up the hillside, turning left at the hedge at the top to pass through a kissing gate leading to an interpretation panel. After 30yds (30m) bear right, cross the car park and go up steep concrete steps to the beacon.
From the beacon, turn right and follow the road past the pub and Yarborough Monument. Turn left immediately after the cafe and follow the signed coastal path, going through a kissing gate and following the cliff edge for 380yds (350m) to reach a line of scrub just before a steep drop. Bear right along the upper edge and, keeping the bushes on your immediate left, continue onwards through a gap in a crossing hedge and after a few yards turn right heading upwards. This path emerges onto the road close to Bembridge Fort. Turn left along the road to the Fort entrance (only open for pre-booked tours, telephone 01983 741020).
Take the grassy downhill path directly opposite the Fort entrance for 50yds (50m), then bear diagonally left and downwards along the well-defined track and continue through a break in the hedgerow. Take the first right and head down the valley, descending all the time and continue on the right-hand side of the valley to pass through a kissing gate to meet the busy road.
Follow the road to the right for 40yds (40m) then take the left BB31 footpath, entering the RSPB Gander Down Reserve by a kissing gate. Bear right and follow the hedge, turning into the wood at a kissing gate, then after 20yds (20m) turn left. Shortly, bear right and continue for another 220yds (200m) to the Eastern Yar sluice gate, one of the best vantage points for seeing birds on Brading Marshes.
Retrace your steps, and this time bear left at the path junction into Centurion’s Copse. Bear left onto BB20 at the interpretation panel and left again after 80yds (75m). Cross the middle of the field by the solitary oak tree to a bridge and kissing gate at the far side, then over the next field to a kissing gate in the hedge. After a third kissing gate the path crosses Bembridge Airfield runway through a kissing gate. Follow the edge of Brading Haven reserve, passing through a kissing gate and a stile and follow the path to the top corner of a field. Bear right over a stile and return to Bembridge Windmill by crossing another stile and through a gate. Turn left to get back to the lay-by.
Getting There (Bembridge Windmill, High Street, Bembridge, PO35 5SQ)
- By road: Bembridge Windmill is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south of Bembridge, which is in the east of the Island, on the B3395. Free parking is available in a public lay-by 100 yards (90m) from the windmill. If full you will have to park in the village.
- By foot: This trail follows the Isle of Wight coastal path between points 2 and 3 on the map.
- By bus: Southern Vectis bus route No 8 from Newport to Ryde, via Sandown, passes through Bembridge village, which is about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) north from the start point.
- By bike: Round the Island Sustrans regional route 67 passes the Bembridge Windmill layby.