Walking

Walking trail

Circumnavigate Culver trail

Walking trail

Take a short but exhilarating cliff top walk over Bembridge and Culver Downs which offers spectacular views over Sandown and Whitecliff Bays. There’s the chance of seeing peregrines, ravens, cowslips and butterflies at different times of year, and it’s equally enjoyable if you just want to take in the views from the cliff tops.

Blue sea and a ribbon of sand around Sandown Bay as seen from the cliffs of Culver

Map

Bembridge And Culver Downs Circumnavigate Map

Elevation

Circumnavigate Culver Elevation Profile

Start:

National Trust car park at Bembridge Fort, grid ref: SZ625859

1

From the car park, turn so the sea is on your right and follow the grassy path which runs along the top of the down parallel to the road. The path meets the road at a cattle grid. Turn right through the gate alongside the cattle grid and walk along the road, which can be busy at times. Turn left through a metal kissing gate just before the Culver Haven Inn and visit the Yarborough Monument.

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The Yarborough Monument dwarfs nearby buildings on Culver Down

2

Follow the coast path sign in the direction of the Whitecliff Bay holiday camp, diagonally right downhill to a gap in the fence. Go through the gap and traverse the side of the hill. Where the coast path starts to lead diagonally downwards to Whitecliff Bay, continue straight ahead on the level and pass through the kissing gate with the National Trust Culver Down sign just beyond. Follow the grassy path clockwise round the cliff-top edge, always keeping within the fence on your left.

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A peregrine falcon in flight on the Isle of Wight

3

Carry on following the boundary fence, past the coastguard cottages and through ‘Sue’s gate’ to rejoin the coastal path and start the descent towards Sandown. After about 1 km (0.6miles) go through another kissing gate and continue ahead for about 120 metres (130yds) to the natural amphitheatre of Red Cliff.

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Red Cliff and the white Culver Cliff dominate the east of Sandown Bay

4

Soak up the view before retracing your steps to the kissing gate. Take the left fork in the path and follow the grassy track SS95 away from the coast. Head towards Bembridge, seen on the horizon. Go through a well-trodden grassy gap in the hedge to your left marked by three metal posts, then immediately head diagonally uphill towards the fort. This soon becomes a well-defined track. About 100 metres (100yds) from the fort where the main path bends left, carry straight on upwards and pick up a lesser track that curves gently right to reach the road opposite the Fort entrance. The fort is open for pre-booked tours only.

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Bembridge Fort sits on top of Bembridge Down on the Isle of Wight

5

Turn right at the road and follow the boundary fence around the fort’s moat. Cross the chalky car park to the viewpoint and topograph and look over Brading Haven. Return to the start car park across the road.

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Distant views of Bembridge Harbour and beyond from Bembridge Down

End:

National Trust car park at Bembridge Fort, grid ref: SZ625859

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Circumnavigate Culver 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=4
  • Stiles=0
  • Steps=0
  • Bridges=0
The trail follows mostly well-defined grassy paths with some stony and uneven surfaces, but these can become slippery and muddy in wet seasons. 
 

Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you.

 
Circumnavigate Culver trail

Contact us

Circumnavigate Culver trail

How to get here

Address
National Trust car park at Bembridge Fort, Culver Down Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight, grid ref: SZ625859. The nearest postcode is PO36 8QY.
By road

Bembridge Fort is on Culver Down road, which leaves the B3395 Sandown/Brading to Bembridge road to the east, close to Yaverland. The Fort is at the top of the hill. Use the free National Trust car park in the field on the right just after Bembridge Fort.

By foot

The Isle of Wight coastal path meets this trail at the road close to the Yarborough Monument.

By ferry

Portsmouth-Fishbourne (Wightlink, tel: 0871 376 1000) 10 miles (16km); Southampton-East Cowes (Red Funnel, tel: 0844 844 9988) 13 miles (21km). Bembridge harbour 5 miles (8km) away has moorings for private boats.

By bus

The Southern Vectis (01983 827000) hourly No. 8 service linking Newport, Ryde and Sandown passes along the B3395, about 0.5 mile (0.8km) from the walk start.

By bicycle
'Round the Island' Sustrans Regional Route 67 follows the B3395, about 0.5 miles (0.8km) from the start.
Circumnavigate Culver trail

Facilities and access

  • Free parking on Culver Down
  • Refreshments available at the Culver Haven Inn or seasonal cafe opposite the Yarborough monument
  • No public toilets on the route
  • Dogs are welcome, but please take dog waste home since no bins are provided