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Woodland and Downland Walks

Woodland and Downland Walks

Woodlands are a wonderful place to walk in the winter, with crisp leaves underfoot, or downlands, with their spectacular views across the island and the sea. Here are a few ideas.

Brighstone Forest is a good place for a walk and easily accessible. Just park at Jubilee car park and turn right after the gate onto the downs.

Parkhurst Forest is similarly coniferous with tall trees and the smell of pine on the fresh air. There’s a main car park off of Forest Road, but you can also drive up to Marks Corner where the forest is more deciduous and there are usually less people about.

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Firestone Copse, near Havenstreet, is a very pretty woods and in the spring the car park and surrounding area is carpeted in spring flowers. Borthwood Copse, in Lady’s Bower, near Winford, sounds like something out of a Tolkein novel and doesn’t disappoint. The clearing of huge beech trees is magnificent, as are the ancient oaks further into the woods.

The downlands of the island make for a fabulous winter walk, and as they stretch through the centre of the island, everyone should have downs within reach.

Culver Down in the east has far reaching views across the Bay area, Bembridge and Ryde with old fortifications to discover. Brading Down is close by, and a wonderful place to roam with more spectacular views.

Ventnor has its own downs, with old pill boxes on the top and the chance that you’ll meet the grumpy goats that graze here.

Climb up from Viewpoint car park at Blackgang to the pepperpot (an old lighthouse) and you can walk the ridge to the Hoy Memorial and the other end and back, with fabulous views of the rugged south west coast.

Walk up though Carisbrooke from the pathway off of Nodgham Lane and you could follow the downland pathway all the way to Freshwater. Or pick up the trail at Brighstone’s Jubilee car park, or at Five Barrows – the views from these ancient burial mounds are amazing.

Possibly the most spectacular views are from the Freshwater, or Tennyson downs. Climb up from Freshwater Bay and walk almost all the way to the Needles and back.

Walk briskly and you’ll soon be warm enough to enjoy the spectacular views, but do try to walk somewhere that is within reach of your home, or only a short drive away. You could be breaking the lockdown rules if you’re not careful – check before you leave.

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