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Blue sea and a ribbon of sand around Sandown Bay as seen from the cliffs of Culver with red valerian in the foreground
The fine sweep of Sandown Bay as seen from Culver Down | © National Trust/Sue Oldham
Isle of Wight

Circumnavigate Culver Down trail

Take a short but exhilarating clifftop walk over Culver Down, taking in the historic Bembridge Fort and Yarborough Monument, along with sweeping views over Sandown Bay and Brading Haven. Keep an eye out for peregrines, ravens, cowslips and butterflies at different times of the year.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

National Trust car park at Bembridge Fort. Grid ref: SZ625859

Step 1

From the car park, turn so that the sea is on your right, and follow the grassy path that 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 (take care as it can be busy at times). Turn left through the metal kissing gate just before the Culver Haven Inn, and visit the Yarborough Monument.

The Yarborough Monument dwarfs nearby buildings on Culver Down
The Yarborough Monument | © National Trust/Sue Oldham

Step 2

Follow the coast path sign in the direction of the Whitecliff Bay holiday camp below, heading downhill and towards the sea. On reaching a gap in the fence, and where the path kinks left before descending further, pass through the kissing gate to the right with a 'National Trust Culver Down' sign just beyond it. Follow the grass or chalk path clockwise round the clifftop edge, always keeping within the fence on your left, until you can go no further.

Step 3

Carry on following the boundary fence, past the coastguard cottages and through 'Sue's gate' to rejoin the coastal path. Then start the descent towards Sandown. After about ½ mile (0.8km), go through another kissing gate and continue ahead for about 130yd (120m) to the natural amphitheatre of Red Cliff.

Step 4

Soak up the view before retracing your steps back to the kissing gate. Take the left fork in the path and follow the grassy track, signposted as SS95, away from the coast. Head towards Bembridge, which you'll see 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 110yd (100m) 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.

Bembridge Fort sits on top of Bembridge Down on the Isle of Wight, with a guided tour in progress
Bembridge Fort | © National Trust/Sue Oldham

Step 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 enjoy the view over Brading Haven. Then return to the car park across the road.

End point

National Trust car park at Bembridge Fort. Grid ref: SZ625859

Trail map

Circumnavigate Culver Down Trail map
Circumnavigate Culver Down Trail 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

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.

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