Walking

Walking trail

Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

Walking trail

An invigorating walk over the downs and RSPB Brading Marshes reserve, with splendid views of the coast and countryside and the opportunity to visit the Island’s only surviving windmill.

The bulk of Bembridge Down, topped by the nobbly Bembridge Fort, is viewed from beneath the sails of Bembridge Windmill

Map

Bembridge And Culver Downs Managing Marsh Map

Elevation

Managing Marsh Elevation Profile

Start:

Bembridge Windmill lay-by, grid ref: SZ641875.

1

Walk to the bend in the road and turn left to Bembridge Windmill. Walk downhill to Steyne Wood, home to red squirrels. Just 50yds (50m) into the wood, bear left to follow a path which soon reaches a busy road. Cross over and go over a stile and continue on path signposted BB22 up a gentle rise past a caravan park to Hillway Road. Turn left up the road, then first right after 100yds (90m) into Jenny Street's Lane. Follow the path signposted BB15, eventually meeting the coastal path after bending round a large corrugated building.

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An autumnal view of Bembridge WIndmill on the Isle of Wight

2

Turn right and walk along the coastal path with stunning views of Whitecliff Bay. At the path junction bear to the right of the seats and cross the top of the concrete ramp to follow the onward coastal path keeping to the immediate right of the hedge and soon passing left of caravans. This is a rising path with some steps. Go through a kissing gate and follow the path diagonally up the hillside, turning left at the hedge at the top to pass through a kissing gate leading to an interpretation panel. After 30yds (30m) bear right, cross the car park and go up steep concrete steps to the beacon.

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Culver Beacon with the Yarbourough Monument in the distance

3

From the beacon, turn right and follow the road past the pub and Yarborough Monument. Turn left immediately after the cafe and follow the signed coastal path, going through a kissing gate and following the cliff edge for 380yds (350m) to reach a line of scrub just before a steep drop. Bear right along the upper edge, and keeping the bushes on your immediate left. Continue onwards through a gap in a crossing hedge and after a few yards turn right heading upwards. This path emerges onto the road close to Bembridge Fort. Turn left along the road to the Fort entrance (only open for pre-booked tours, telephone 01983 741020).

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A raven in full voice on the Isle of Wight

4

Take the grassy downhill path directly opposite the Fort entrance for 50yds (50m), then bear diagonally left and downwards along the well defined track. Take the first right and head down the valley, descending all the time and passing through two kissing gates to meet the busy road.

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The bridge over the moat leading into Bembridge Fort on Bembridge Down

5

Follow the road to the right for 40yds (40m) then take the left BB31 footpath, entering the RSPB Gander Down Reserve by a kissing gate. Bear right and follow the hedge, turning into the wood at a kissing gate, then after 20yds (20m) turn left. Shortly go through another kissing gate and continue for another 220yds (200m) to the Eastern Yar sluice gate, one of the best vantage points for seeing birds on Brading Marshes.

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the River Yar crosses Brading Haven on its way to the sea

6

Retrace your steps through the kissing gate, and this time bear left at the path junction into Centurion's Copse. Bear left onto BB20 at the interpretation panel, and left again after 80yds (75m). Cross the middle of the field by the solitary tree to a bridge and stile at the far side, then over the next field to a stile in the hedge. After a third stile the path crosses Bembridge Airfield runway. Follow the edge of Brading Haven reserve, passing through two kissing gates and a stile and follow the path to the top corner of a field. Bear right over a stile and return to Bembridge Windmill by crossing another stile and through a gate. A good time for refreshments at the Windmill.Turn left to get back to the lay-by.

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A model in Bembridge Heritage Centre of Brading Haven before it was drained

End:

Bembridge Windmill lay-by, grid ref: SZ641875.

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Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

Terrain

Download a GPX file of the trail here for your smartphone or GPS.
 
This is a circular walk with:
  • Gates=1
  • Kissing gates=11
  • Stiles=7
  • Steps=22
  • Bridges=1
Mostly well-defined paths with some stony and uneven surfaces, but scan become slippery and muddy in wet seasons. There is a steep ascent to Culver Down, and there are seats at some viewpoints.
 
Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you.
 
Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

Contact us

Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

How to get here

Address
Bembridge Windmill, High Street, Bembridge, Isle of Wight, PO35 5SQ
By road
Bembridge Windmill is 0.5 miles (0.8km) south of Bembridge in the east of the Isle of Wight on the B3395. There is free parking in a public lay-by 100 yards (90m) away from the windmill.
 
By foot

This trail follows the Isle of Wight coastal path between points 2 and 3 on the map.

By ferry
  • Fishbourne - Portsmouth (Wightlink, 0871 376 1000): 10 miles (16km)
  • East Cowes - Southampton (Red Funnel, 0844 844 9988): 13 miles (21km)
By bus

Southern Vectis (01983 827000) The No.8 hourly service from Newport to Ryde via Sandown passes through Bembridge village, about 0.3 miles (0.5km) away.

By bicycle

'Round the Island ' Sustrans regional route 67 passes the Bembridge Windmill layby

Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

Facilities and access

  • Refreshments can be found at Bembridge Windmill when open, or in Bembridge village
  • The nearest toilets are in Bembridge village, 0.3 miles (0.5km) away