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Isle of Wight

Hiking in the Isle of Wight

Hiking

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Photo: Andy Grubb

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All walks on the Isle of Wight promise sea air, peaceful paths and a sense of adventure. It’s England’s largest island and sits just a few miles off the southern coast, opposite the major maritime ports of Southampton and Portsmouth. Once home to Queen Victoria, when you go adventuring here, it won’t take you long to work out why the monarch chose the island as a place to live. 

With rolling downland, great chalk cliffs, meandering footpaths through quiet woodlands and fantastic coves perfect for paddling, there’s plenty for you to explore. If you’re after a half-day hike on the Isle of Wight, you have plenty of routes to choose from, some of which are great for children. Fancy a longer adventure? There are numerous ways to fully explore the island, including a circumnavigation. Where your feet take you, you’re never far from the sea lapping the shore, cries of gulls overhead or the menu of an ice cream parlour.


Top 20 best walks and hikes in the Isle of Wight

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    04:12
    9.37 mi
    2.2 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    03:22
    7.36 mi
    2.2 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Difficult
    05:55
    13.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    03:40
    8.03 mi
    2.2 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    04:52
    11.1 mi
    2.3 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Easy
    00:57
    1.96 mi
    2.1 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    7
    Difficult
    07:34
    17.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    03:35
    7.78 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    9
    Easy
    01:54
    4.52 mi
    2.4 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    04:14
    9.36 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    01:59
    4.24 mi
    2.1 mph
    600 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    02:35
    6.27 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Easy
    01:45
    4.23 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    02:07
    4.95 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    02:48
    6.73 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    03:19
    7.58 mi
    2.3 mph
    575 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:09
    5.06 mi
    2.3 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.
    View
    18
    Easy
    01:26
    3.48 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    01:40
    3.65 mi
    2.2 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    03:13
    7.61 mi
    2.4 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View

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More Information

A wide range of landscapes

At 148 square miles (384 km2) and quite rural, there’s a lot to explore on your Isle of Wight walks. In the west, you can head up to Tennyson Down, named after one of the island’s most famous residents, the poet Lord Tennyson. You can continue to the western end of the island and look out to the Needles, a set of bright white, chalk sea stacks. Nearby, you can explore the River Yar, which begins at Freshwater Bay in the south west and flows a few miles north, to Yarmouth. 

Some of the best hiking trails on the Isle of Wight lie in its undulating middle. A web of footpaths covers the downland, leading you from woodland to viewpoint and from viewpoint to river valley. In the south east, you can admire the long sandy beach stretching from Shanklin to Sandown and, in the north east, Ryde’s beach utterly changes from low to high tides. 

Wildlife spotting

You’re rarely alone on your hikes on the Isle of Wight. Thanks to its separation from the mainland, the island is one of the UK’s few strongholds of red squirrels. They live throughout the island, but Newton River woodlands in the north west and Borthwood Copse in the south east are two of the best places to spy on them. 

Newton River is also an excellent place to spot wading birds with its bird hides, as is Brading Marshes Nature Reserve just inland from Bembridge. If you’re very lucky, you might spot a white-tailed eagle or an osprey. 

Visit year-round

The Isle of Wight is a fantastic place to explore throughout the year thanks to its mild climate. You can watch the boats in the Channel from the south or in the Solent to the north, one of the busiest waterways in the world. 

The only way to access the island is by boat so unless you have your own vessel (in which case Yarmouth and Cowes have lovely marinas), you can catch the ferry from Keyhaven (summer), Lymington, Southampton or Portsmouth. You can choose between car ferries or foot passenger-only catamarans and journey times take between 30 minutes and an hour. For a shorter and rather exciting journey, foot passengers can take the hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde in just 10 minutes.


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