4.25 miles (6.8km). Can be shortened to 3 miles (4.8km) by missing out Alum Bay
OS Map:Landranger 196; Explorer OL29
Dogs welcome, but please keep on a lead around wildlife.
Start at the Turf Walk, Cliff Road, Totland (grid ref: SZ322868).
Facing the sea, turn right along Turf Walk to its left-hand corner, cross the bridge and go down the steps towards Totland pier. Turn left along the seafront.
Climb the wooden steps just after the Old Lifeboat Station, turning right at the top to follow the road. Where the coast path on the right just beyond Cape House is closed due to severe land movement, continue along the road for 200yds (180m) and take the official diversion, a right turn along a track, just after York Road on the left. This is signposted T17 to Headon Warren. The path passes to the right-hand side of Warren Cottage.
Continue gently uphill and bear left when joining the original route of the coast path. Follow the coast path marker posts, emerging into a clearing by a seat. Walk along the ridge for 100yds (90m) for a fine view of The Needles. Retrace your steps to the seat (the onward path is unsafe due to landslips), then bear right and downwards towards Alum Bay. Follow the path to a junction by the next coast path marker post and take a detour to the right to visit Hatherwood Battery.
Leave the Battery by a path to the right of a stunted pine tree and bear right again down towards Alum Bay. (For a shorter walk, bear left just after the coast path marker post and skip to direction 7 below). Cross the road by a gate and take the track opposite, signed T22. To reach the beach and see the famous coloured sands in the cliffs, follow the path and several flights of wooden steps right down to the shore at Alum Bay, then retrace your steps.
Halfway along the track, climb a steep flight of wooden steps, signed T23, to reach The Needles Park. Turn right under the chairlift for 40yds (35m), then left and right to visit the Marconi Memorial and viewing platform.
Cross through the pleasure park to the road and turn left along the Coastal Path which follows the road for 220yds (200m). Take the first road on the left to the gate passed earlier and rejoin the outward path, marked T17, back up the hill. Bear right following the coast path marker post and follow the path back to the seat on the top of Headon Warren.
Take the path to the right of the seat until you reach the Bronze Age barrow. Follow the path to the right of the barrow and descend slightly, passing a sunken reservoir. Turn left briefly, walking towards the finger post, then turn right and follow the public footpath downhill. Pass through a gate and over a stile to reach a road.
Turn left and left again along the first minor road (Headon Rise). Continue along this road to return to Turf Walk.
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