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Bembridge Fort and Culver Downs, Isle of Wight
Bembridge Fort and Culver Downs, Isle of Wight | © National Trust Images/Chuck and Fiona Eccleston
Isle of Wight

Fine fortifications trail at Bembridge and Culver Downs

Although peaceful today, Bembridge and Culver Downs were once a scene of much military activity. Follow this easy circular walk along the top of the downs to gain insight into the Isle of Wight's role in wartime defence and intelligence, and to look out over Sandown Bay, Whitecliff Bay and Brading Haven.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Bembridge Fort National Trust car park, Bembridge Down, Isle of Wight PO36 8QY. Grid ref: SZ625859

Step 1

From the car park, return to Bembridge Fort by following the road. You can view the fort from the outside.

Step 2

On leaving the fort, turn left in the direction of the car park, but follow the grassy path running alongside the road on its left as far as you can. At the field boundary the path cuts through the hedge back onto the road. Cross straight over the road, go through the opposite hedge and turn left, following the grassy path that runs parallel to the road on its right. This path rejoins the road at a cattle grid just before the Culver Haven Inn. Go through the gate to the side of the cattle grid and follow the tarmac road past the inn to the car park, marking the site of the old signal station, where there is an information panel.

Step 3

Continue along the road to the start of the one-way system and follow it left, down to the car park with views to Whitecliff Bay and Brading Haven. Carry on to Culver Battery where there is another information panel.

Culver Battery helped to protect the Solent approaches and Portsmouth
Culver Battery on the eastern edge of the Isle of Wight | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 4

Continue along the road to meet the outward route. Retrace your steps along the road past the inn. You'll see the War Department boundary stones and perhaps some rusting metal rings set in concrete, which used to support the wartime radar masts.

The ancient beacon site on Culver Down is used again, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Lighting the beacon on Culver Down for the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 5

Go through the gate alongside the cattle grid then leave the road on the left and follow the grassy ridge-top path that you came along, keeping the hedge and the road on your immediate right. Don't cross the road this time but continue directly ahead and back to the car park.

End point

Bembridge Fort National Trust car park, Bembridge Down, Isle of Wight PO36 8QY. Grid ref: SZ625859, what3words: ///sculpting.corner.softest

Trail map

Fine Fortifications Trail on Bembridge and Culver Downs map
Fine Fortifications Trail on Bembridge and Culver Downs map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2015 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

Bembridge Down, near Bembridge, Isle of Wight, PO36 8QY

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We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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