Walking trail

Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver

Walking trail

A varied coastal walk exploring St Helens Duver, a sandy spit of land rich in wildlife and history. From busy Bembridge harbour you pass along the rocky seashore before climbing up inland and returning via picturesque St Helens village.

IMPORTANT: Choose routes depending on the state of the tide

Only attempt the longer walk within two hours either side of low tide, otherwise it would be a dangerous scramble over slippy rocks. The alternative footpath shown on the map through Priory Woods is often closed due to severe mud. So when the tide is high, we strongly suggest following the coastal path directly from route step 3 to step 5, which misses out Priory Bay but is safe in all conditions. This route alternative is 0.5 miles (0.8km) shorter and is described within step 3, and guidance on tide times is provided in the 'Terrain' section below.

A grassy path entices the walker onto St Helens Duver


Map route for links and ledges walk, discover the Duver


Links and Ledges Elevation Profile


St Helens Duver National Trust car park, grid ref: SZ637892


Leave the National Trust car park by following the hedge to the left of the interpretation panel and parking meter (for non National Trust members) and go on up the sandy path by the green dog bin. Cross the grass and go on over the road, aiming for the boats in Bembridge Harbour.

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Families enjoy kite flying and dog walking on St Helens Duver


Turn left along the embankment path which soon leads away from the water, then cross the road and take the grassy path which heads over to houses on the right. Follow a track between the houses onto the promenade. Turn left and walk along the promenade to St Helens Old Church. Go through a gate and past an interpretation panel and a National Trust sign for Node's Point and go onto the sands.

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A child goes rockpooling, and finds a large crab


(Low-tide route only) ............................ Walk along the sands for about a mile passing through three rocky headlands. Only attempt this at low tide. After crossing the third headland (Horestone Point) take the raised boardwalk along the back of Seagrove Bay. ___________________________ ___________________________ (High-tide route) ................................ Back-track to the road by St Helens Old Church, turn right and follow it for 110 yds (100m). Take the signed coastal path through a kissing gate on the right and go up the right edge of the field. Cross a bridge over a stream, then continue diagonally up the next field to a kissing gate in the top right corner. Turn right along the road, bearing left at the caravan park entrance. The footpath goes just to the left of the Priory Bay Hotel stone gate posts and follows the left hand edge of woodland. Step 5 is reached at the path junction where the wood ends: turn left to the stile.

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Hundreds of people splash to St Helens Fort in an annual bout of madness


(Low-tide route only) ............................ Walk along the promenade, at the end of which take the road left up a slipway and hill, climbing Ferniclose Road (signposted Coastal Footpath). Continue to the top of the hill, reaching a stile 55yds (50m) beyond the Priory Hotel driveway.

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The secluded sandy beach of Priory Bay near St Helens Duver


Go over the stile and continue straight on keeping a hedge on your left. Go over another stile at the field boundary and follow in the same direction until you reach a road via a memorial gate. Turn right for 25yds (25m) then left along footpath R82 to St Helens. Bending left at a junction by the school, cross a cul-de-sac and follow a path between houses, before emerging alongside the Vine Inn. Turn left and continue along the pavement back towards the Duver, Notice the plaque to Sophie Dawes on a house on your left almost opposite Mill Road. Turn right into Duver Road when the main road bends sharply left.

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A blue plaque on a red brick wall in memory of Sophie Dawes, 'Queen of Chantilly'


Just before some traffic lights, turn right onto a path which leads through St Helens Common. Go down this path and cross a wooden footbridge to an interpretation panel. Continue along the path for 60yds (55m) then head diagonally left across the grassy area and back to the car park.

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An autumnal view to the sea over St Helens Common with two black Hebridean sheep


St Helens Duver National Trust car park, grid ref: SZ637892

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Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver


Finding tide times

Bembridge Harbour tide times (which apply to St Helens Duver)
Island-wide tide times

The route

Download a GPX file for your smartphone or GPS: low-tide route , or high-tide route.

This is a:

  • Circular walk
  • Gates=0
  • Kissing gates=1
  • Stiles=2
  • Steps=5
  • Bridges=0
There are some steep paths which can be muddy and slippery after wet weather. Please check tides before setting out as both sections of beach may be under water at high tide.
Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you.
Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver

Contact us

Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver

How to get here

St Helens Duver, Isle of Wight. Nearest postcode PO33 1XY
By road

0.5 miles off the B3330 Seaview to Bembridge road, east of St Helens Green. 5 miles (8km) south west from Ryde on A3055 and B3330. 4.5 miles (7km) north west of Sandown on the A3055 and B3330.

By foot

This trail meets the Isle of Wight coastal path between St Helens Duver and Seagrove Bay

By ferry

Fishbourne-Portsmouth (Wightlink, tel: 0871 376 1000) 7 miles (11km); East Cowes-Southampton (Red Funnel, tel: 0844 844 9988) 11 miles (18km). Bembridge Harbour has moorings for private boats.

By bus

Southern Vectis (tel: 01983 827 000) No. 8 service from Newport and Ryde, hourly. Alight at St Helens village green on B3330. The Duver is a 0.5 mile walk down the Duver Road or the path beside St Helens Common.

By bicycle

'Round the Island' Sustrans regional route 67 passes 0.5 miles from the start of the trail

Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver

Facilities and access

  • Pay and display car park (free for National Trust Members)
  • At high tide the top of the beach can be covered
  • Seasonal toilets next to café on St Helens Duver seafront and at Seagrove Bay
  • Picnic area at St Helens Old Church
  • Pub and shops can be found in St Helens village
  • Dogs are welcome, please keep on a lead around wildlife