Opening times for 9 December 2023
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Parking available in High Down Pit car park.
Tea-room within the Needles Old Battery (admission applies).
Dogs on leads are welcome. On Open Access land and at the coast, you must put your dog on a lead around livestock. It is a legal requirement to keep dogs on a lead in areas with ground-nesting birds from 1 March to 31 July, as indicated by information signs.
Toilets available within the Needles Old Battery (admission applies).
Accessible WC available at the Needles Old Battery for visitors to that site only. Dogs on leads are welcome. On Open Access land and at the coast, you must put your dog on a lead around livestock. It is a legal requirement to keep dogs on a lead in areas with ground-nesting birds from 1 March to 31 July. Cliff edges on Tennyson Down are unfenced.
Accessible WC available at the Needles Old Battery for visitors to that site only.
There are seats at regular intervals on Tennyson Down, near the Needles Old Battery and on Headon Warren.
Limited accessible parking is available at the Needles Old Battery by prior arrangement, telephone 01983 754772 to arrange.
The Needles and downs are at the west-most tip of the Isle of Wight, reached by the B3322 from Yarmouth/Totland or the Alum Bay road from Freshwater Bay. For access to Tennyson Down only, from Freshwater Bay, just off the A3055 and also from a small car park in an old chalk pit off the Alum Bay road by turning off at the High Down Inn and driving to the end of High Down Lane. Grid reference SZ325856.
Access on foot from Alum Bay to the Needles Old Battery is approximately ¾ of a mile along a well-surfaced private road. From there it is approximately a 40 minute walk to the Tennyson Monument.
Southern Vectis buses from Newport run to Alum Bay, via Yarmouth and Totland. Open-top buses do run to the Needles Old Battery from Alum Bay, less than a mile up the road. There is a 2-3 hourly service between Totland and Newport which follows the inland edge of Tennyson Down. For details of bus timetables see www.islandbuses.info.
The 'Round the Island' cycle path reaches Freshwater Bay, close to the eastern edge of Tennyson Down. Most of the down is not open to cyclists but there is a permitted bridleway that links to an existing bridleway that cyclists are welcome to use.
The nearest ferry port is at Yarmouth (5 miles). Wightlink operates services from Portsmouth and Lymington, tel - 0870 582 7744 or go to www.wightlink.com East Cowes (16 miles), Red Funnel operates services from Southampton, tel - 0844 844 9988 or go to www.redfunnel.co.uk
Rolling downs, craggy white cliffs and far-reaching views on the most westerly point of the Isle of Wight.
Monument erected to commemorate the poet who lived nearby, standing at the highest point of the chalk cliffs.
Heather-covered heathland with remains of old military fort, a Bronze Age burial mound, and views over to the Needles rocks and the south coast of England.
Lord Tennyson’s former walking spot boasts open downland, sheer chalk cliffs and dramatic sea views, plus the Needles Old Battery and New Battery.
Enjoy a figure-of-eight walk, in two lengths, with a splendid view of the Needles, a 19th-century fort, Cold War rocket test site and a monument to the poet Tennyson.
Be inspired as Tennyson was
Tennyson Down is probably one of the most popular places to walk on the Island. You can enjoy it just for the great leg-stretch from Freshwater Bay to the Needles Headland, and drink in the salt laden air that so inspired Tennyson. However every time you visit, the light and weather conditions are different so it is well worth returning.
A great place to be
You are perched above high chalk cliffs and transluscent seas that reflect the light in so many different ways. Amongst the gorse bushes are small birds and thousands of minute downland flowers and cliff nesting birds soar effortlessly along the cliff tops using the updrafts.
Downland management today
We are restoring more of Tennyson Down back to open chalk grassland. Since the 1920s the Downs had fewer grazing animals, which allowed the whole of the sheltered north side of the Down to grow up with young woodland and many of the chalk grassland flowers and butterfies have disappeared. Cattle have been reintroduced to the Down and areas of young trees are being removed where the soil is suitably thin to allow the chalk grassland to gradually return and provide more wonderful open downland to wander across.