The Isle of Wight Coastal Path

A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick

Harold strides along on West High Down

Harold strides along on West High Down


The Isle of Wight Coast Path is certainly one of the easiest of all the UK long-distance footpaths. There is little in the way of steep up and down, the route is well supplied with places of accommodation and refreshment, and it doesn’t even matter where you begin – since the route (which sometimes appears as the Coastal as opposed to the Coast Path) is circular.

When we walked it in 2001 we did own planning, booked our own accommodation, arranged each day for the transfer of our heavy packs by taxi, and relied on several already out-of-date guidebooks. The walker undertaking the route today can, after a little Internet research, obtain professional assistance in matters of accommodation and baggage transfer – with one company even moving you from the same hotel each day to a new spot on the trail. There are also new guidebooks available and we have entered the era of the Explorer series of Ordnance Survey maps  – Sheets 22 and 29 are the ones needed here. If you are entirely new to the walking enterprise you might want to check out my A Walker’s Alphabet, Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain – available directly from the publisher at or or from, from or any of the other online booksellers. You can always let me know how you found the route at

For those of you who are looking for a preview of this adventure I offer accounts of the seven stages we utilized in the following order:

Day 1: Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay – 9.5 miles

Day 2: Freshwater Bay to Chale  11.5 miles

Day 3: Chale to Sandown – 12 miles

Day 4: Sandown to Ryde – 12 miles

Day 5: Ryde to Cowes – 9 miles

Day 6: Cowes to Shalfleet – 10.5 miles

Day 7: Shalfleet to Yarmouth – 7.5 miles