Skip to content
Visitors at Bembridge Windmill, Isle of Wight
Visitors at Bembridge Windmill | © National Trust Images/John Millar
Isle of Wight

Bembridge and Culver Downs trail

An invigorating circular on the east side of the Isle of Wight, with splendid views of the coast and countryside. The trail starts at Bembridge Windmill, only surviving windmill on the island, before joining with a section of the coast path. It then cuts back inland, heading past a Victorian fort and the RSPB-protected wetland at Brading Marshes. Be sure to stop and take in the scenery from the top of Culver Downs.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Bembridge Windmill lay-by, grid ref: SZ641875

Step 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 (46m) into the wood, prior to the interpretation panel, bear left to follow a path which soon reaches a busy road. Cross over and go through a gate 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.

Step 2

Turn right and walk along the coastal path with stunning views of Whitecliff Bay. Pass BB16 on your right, then in open area, 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 over a wooden bridge to the 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 another kissing gate leading to an interpretation panel. After 30yds (27m) bear right, cross the car park and go up steep concrete steps to the beacon.

Step 3

From the beacon, turn right and follow the road past the pub and Yarborough Monument. Turn left immediately after the café 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).

Step 4

Take the grassy downhill path directly opposite the fort entrance for 50yds (46m), then bear diagonally left and downwards along the well defined track and continue through a break in the hedgerow. Take the first right and head down the valley, descending all the time and continue on the right hand side of the valley to pass through a kissing gate to meet the busy road.

The bridge over the moat leading into Bembridge Fort on Bembridge Down
The entrance to Bembridge Fort | © National Trust Images / Chuck Eccleston ARPS

Step 5

Follow the road to the right for 40yds (37m) 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 (18m) turn left. Shortly, bear right and continue for another 220yds (200m) to the Eastern Yar sluice gate, one of the best vantage points for seeing birds on Brading Marshes.

The River Yar flows lazily towards St Helens Duver seen from the reclaimed land of Brading Haven
The River Yar crosses Brading Haven on its way to the sea | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 6

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

End point

Bembridge Windmill lay-by, grid ref: SZ641875

Trail map

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

You made it

Share your experience

Get in touch

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

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

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

Visit website 


Bembridge and Culver Downs walking trail GPX file 

Right-click and 'Save Link As' or ‘Save Target As’ or ‘Download Linked File As’ (depending on your browser) to download this Bembridge and Culver Downs walking trail GPX file to your device, then open with your GPS program.

A group of hikers exploring a hilly landscape on a sunny winters day.


This National Walking Month, explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

Winter sunshine over still waters in Sandown Bay seen from just above the beach at Yaverland

Things to see and do at Bembridge and Culver Downs 

Whether you're a cyclist, a stroller, a wildlife-spotter, a kite-flyer or a picnic person, there’s plenty to see and do at the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge Fort and Culver Downs, Isle of Wight

History of Bembridge Fort 

Find out more about this Victorian fort that was called into action in both World Wars then left abandoned, including why it was built where it was.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.