Walking

Walking trail

Down South: views of Ventnor walk

Walking trail

Enjoy spectacular far-reaching views on this short but challenging walk on the south side of the Island.

Two dog walkers sit on the grass on Ventnor Downs and take in the wide views

Map

Map route for Down South views of Ventnor walk

Elevation

Down South Elevation Profile

Start:

Ventnor Down car park, grid ref: SZ565784

1

From the Dakota Memorial interpretation panel at the back of the car park, follow the path around the perimeter of Ventnor Radar Station, keeping the fence on your left. Turn right just before the gate by a tall mast, signposted V1. After 45yds (40m) go through the kissing gate and bear left, taking the ridge top path towards Ventnor. This is one of the many gates to keep the goats in their enclosure. The path eventually descends very steeply with a series of steps. Go through the goat gate at the bottom, where there is an interpretation panel for Coombe Bottom. Continue through the copse, including two flights of concrete steps.

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A view down the lovely Coombe Bottom from high on Ventnor Downs

2

Turn left on reaching the industrial estate, the site of the old Ventnor railway station 300ft (90m) above the sea. Turn left again at the main road and walk 380yds (350m) along the right-hand pavement of Mitchell Avenue. Take the path into the woods on the left signed V110, just past Ventnor Bowling Club.

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Nestled in the valley, this was the site of the old Ventnor railway statio

3

Follow the path along the bottom edge of the wood overlooking the tennis courts. Don't go through the kissing gate into Bishop's Acre but bear uphill to the left, with the stock fence on your immediate right. After a short distance the fence turns and descends again, but our path continues to rise straight ahead. Take the upwards left fork at a junction.

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Nothing much grows under the holm oaks of Ventnor Downs

4

Go through the goat gate to emerge onto open downland and follow the contouring path for about 600yds (550m) across the lower slopes of St Boniface Down. This is the best area to see chalk grassland flowers and butterflies.

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Adonis blue caterpillars feed on horseshoe vetch, emerging as beautiful blue butterflies

5

Just below an isolated clump of trees on an exposed flank of the hill, a path with steps joins from the road below and a crescent of houses close to the sea is seen further beyond. At this point, turn left and climb straight up the down, passing the clump of trees. The path is very steep but becomes better defined higher up the hill. You may feel it is better suited to mountain goats than humans! Near the top of the hill there is a bench and interpretation panel.

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One of our wild goats looks wary, and a buzzard glides overhead

6

Go through the goat gate and up the hill. Follow the signpost V113 for 50yds (50m) to meet a crossing track with a view of Sandown Bay ahead. Turn left along the crossing track to the car park. Walk along the road out of the car park but turn right through a gate on the path signed V43, then quickly left again in 20yds (20m) to follow a grassy track which runs parallel to the road. Return to the car park by turning left opposite a wartime shelter.

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Now used by aircraft, this site on the downs above Ventnor was vital to our defences in World War 2

End:

Ventnor Down car park, grid ref: SZ565784

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Down South: views of Ventnor walk

Terrain

Download a GPX file of the trail here for your smartphone or GPS.

This is a:
  • Circular walk
  • Gates=0
  • Kissing gates=4
  • Stiles=0
  • Steps=More than 100
  • Bridges=0
The paths down to the old Ventnor railway station and up St Boniface Down are some of the steepest on the island, so this is a short but strenuous walk. It is mostly on grassy paths which can be slippery in wet weather and muddy in winter, so care is needed. The exposed downs can be very windy.
 
Dogs are always welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife and livestock, and take any dog waste home with you.
 
For those who enjoy what is the Isle of Wight’s nearest equivalent to alpine walking, join this walk to the Luccombe Down National Trust trail, which starts at Luccombe Down car park.
 
Down South: views of Ventnor walk

Contact us

Telephone: 01983 741020
Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ventnor-downs
 
 
 
 
Down South: views of Ventnor walk

How to get here

Address
National Trust car park off Down Lane on Ventnor Down, Isle of Wight. The nearest postcode is PO38 1YL.
By road

Take Down Lane off B3327 from Wroxall to Ventnor road in Upper Ventnor. The car park is just before the fenced off radar station fence. Nearest postcode is PO38 1YL.

By foot

The Isle of Wight coastal path passes along the sea front at Ventnor, 0.5 miles (1km) away, from where there are a number of steep paths up to the trail.

By ferry

Fishbourne to Portsmouth (Wightlink 0871 376 1000) 13 miles (21km); East Cowes to Southampton (Red Funnel, 0844 844 9988) 15 miles (24km).

By bus

Southern Vectis (01983 827000) No. 3 servicebetween Newport and Ryde, alight at Down Lane, half-hourly.

By bicycle

Sustrans  Regional 'Round the Island' Route 67 passes Down Lane in Upper Ventnor.

Down South: views of Ventnor walk

Facilities and access

  • A number of free car parks off Down Lane, as far as Luccombe Down
  • Nearest toilets and refreshments are in Ventnor town