Thursday, 22 November 2012


Ventnor from the Esplanade

On day two of our short trip to the Isle of Wight, we set out from where we had been staying, the excellent Hillside hotel and walked further up the hill. We soon passed a nice pair of Victorian buildings: the one on the left is the former station tavern, while the one on the right, although looking like a chapel, has a stone plaque (dated 1888) linking it to the Ventnor Gas and Water Company. The long-vanished railway started in Ryde and entered Ventnor via a tunnel under St. Boniface Down, of which more later.

We turned right here and climbed a steep path to reach the downs that lie above Ventnor.  There was a fine view over the western side of the town, with the end of St Boniface Down on the left. The sun was in the wrong place to make a photo fully successful.

We joined and followed a road for a while, walked just below the radio masts and enjoyed fine views to the west from an elevation of about 235m.

We followed St Boniface Down with the radar station now to our left to reach the grassier Bonchurch Down. As the wide grassy path descended towards the sea, Sandown Bay opened up to our left, with the white chalk Culver Cliff prominent to the east. There were a number of yellow gorse plants here - we weren't sure whether they were late or early to be in flower.

We descended Nansen Hill and admired the breakers at Luccombe Bay, with Culver Cliff again in the background.

We decided we had better halt our forward progress at this point to be sure of catching the 3 pm ferry and followed the road back towards Ventnor. With some difficulty, we found our way down to the Coastal Path at Wheelers Bay.

We were staggered by the three-spoked concrete shapes used as shore defences. Were they interesting or weird? We couldn't decide.

Then past the elaborately defended harbour to the town, where we had a nice tapas lunch, and up the hill back to the hotel.

Map: Explorer OL29 (Isle of Wight).

Conditions: Not too cold. Quite a lot of blue sky, but some haze and spray in evidence and less clear than yesterday.

Distance: 5 miles.

Rating: four stars.

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