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The view from the top of Headon Warren ridge to Dorset's Purbeck Hills, with the Needles on the left and a surprisingly calm sea
An early winter view of the Needles from Headon Warren, on a calm day | © National Trust / Chuck Eccleston ARPS
Isle of Wight

Headon Warren walk

Head up Headon Warren – an exhilarating walk with great views of the mainland, and a Bronze Age burial mound to discover. This walk can be shortened to 3 miles (4.8km) by missing out Alum Bay.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Cliff Road Totland, grid ref: SZ322868

Step 1

Facing the sea, walk into the open grassy area adjoining the road lined with seats and known locally as Turf Walk. Turn right and walk to its left hand corner, cross the bridge and go down the steps towards Totland pier. Turn left along the seafront.

Step 2

Climb the wooden steps just after the Old Lifeboat Station, turning right at the top to follow the road. Where the coast path on the right just beyond Cape House is closed due to severe land movement, continue along the road for 200 yards (180m) and take the official diversion, a right turn along a track just after York Lane on the left. This is signposted T17 to Headon Warren. The path passes to the right hand side of Warren Cottage.

Step 3

Continue gently uphill and bear left when joining the original route of the coast path. Follow the coast path marker posts, emerging into a clearing by a seat. Walk along the ridge for 100 yards (90m) for a fine view of the Needles. Retrace your steps to the seat (the onward path is unsafe due to landslips), then bear right and downwards towards Alum Bay. Follow the path to a junction by the next coast path marker post and take a detour to the right to visit Hatherwood Battery.

The 19th century Hatherwood battery never saw active service
Hatherwood Battery at the western end of Headon Warren | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 4

Leave the Battery by a path to the right of a stunted pine tree and bear right again down towards Alum Bay. (For a shorter walk, bear left just after the coast path marker post and skip to direction 7 below). Cross the road by a gate and take the track opposite, signed T22. To reach the beach and see the famous coloured sands in the cliffs, follow the path and several flights of wooden steps right down to the shore at Alum Bay, then retrace your steps.

Step 5

Halfway along the track, climb a steep flight of wooden steps, signed T23, to reach The Needles Park. Turn right under the chairlift for 40 yards (35m), then left and right to visit the Marconi Memorial and viewing platform.

Step 6

Cross through the pleasure park to the road, and turn left along the Coastal Path which follows the road for 220 yards (200m). Take the first road on the left to the gate passed earlier and rejoin the outward path, marked T17, back up the hill. Bear right, following the coast path marker post, and follow the path back to the seat on the top of Headon Warren.

Step 7

Take the path to the right of the seat until you reach the Bronze Age barrow. Follow the path to the right of the barrow and descend slightly, passing a sunken reservoir. Turn left briefly, walking towards the finger post, then turn right and follow the public footpath downhill. Pass through a gate and over a stile to reach a road.

Headon Warren is topped by a large mound, and burial barrow dating from 1700-1500BC
The Bronze Age barrow on top of Headon Warren | © National Trust / Sue Oldham

Step 8

Turn left, and left again along the first minor road (Headon Rise). Continue along this road to return to the start point.

End point

Cliff Road Totland, grid ref: SZ322868

Trail map

Headon Warren walk map
Headon Warren walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2015 Ordnance Survey

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