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myisleofwight Guide to the Isle of Wight Walking Festival

myisleofwight Guide to the Isle of Wight Walking Festival

Well there is one thing that the Island does really well in May and that’s Walking. Now in its 14th year, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, has over 240 walks taking place over two weeks (5th - 20th May)– and believe me there really is something for everyone – even if you think walking isn’t your thing.

Here is our guide to this year’s more unusual festival offerings.

Active with a twist…

For those who are really fit Charybdis Passage (3) on Saturday 5th May is a coastal scramble across the rocks from Ventnor to Whitecliff Bay and back, led by an experienced coastguard.  You have to be able to walk at 15mph and you start at 4am, covering a total of 17 miles in seven hours, racing against the tide. Singing walk supplied by IW Walking Festival

Or maybe you fancy going to the devil – the Devil’s Chimney that is, as Let’s Go To The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (153) on Tuesday 15th May, will take you there after leading you from Godshill to Ventnor passing through Donkey Sanctuary, St. Martin’s Down and the Smugglers Cove café. Or for a more relaxed experience the Thai Chi Walk (232) on Sunday 20th May promoting balance and mind and body control may seem more appealing. Our favourite is definitely Sing Along with Den (228) on Saturday 19th May – singing as you make your musical way through Wootton.

For kids…

Walking with children is not always a joyful experience, with little legs tiring quickly and cries of ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘Are we nearly there yet’ following you along. So why not take advantage of one of the walks tailored especially for our beloved little ones? For aspiring royalists The Princess Walk (238) on Sunday 20th May is just the ticket with a Prince and Princess Parade for children around Carisbrooke Castle, dressed in all their finery, followed by a picnic – perfect!  Princess Walk 2009 supplied by IW Walking Festiva

Or you could follow in the footsteps of Island book characters, Jack and Boo, on a wild bluebell walk and nature trail through Borthwood Copse on Saturday 19th May in Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood Walk and Scavenger Hunt (226). Or you could paddle on the Bembridge Ledges looking for sea creatures during Rockpool Magic (239) on Sunday 20th May. Toddlers have not been forgotten either with The Giant Toddle (228) on Saturday 19th May around Appley Park and Tiny Tots or Toddlers Tea Party (108) on Friday 11th May with a wander around the fields to see the farm animals in Niton followed by homemade cakes. Or you could opt for Trek, Talk, Toddle (240) on Sunday 20th May for a gentle walk along Bishop’s way cycle path in Newport with refreshments at St. John’s church to finish.

Quirky…

There are always some slightly out-there walks at the festival and this year is no exception. A walk in the Island’s extraordinary bee reserve in Newchurch is the focus for The Amazing Bee Fields (31) on Sunday 6th May or you can go Up the Chimney and Down the Drain (219) on Saturday 19th May, a strenuous walk taking you from sea level to the Island’s highest point, up a chimney, across downland, to a pub for lunch, and then down the drain apparently. For something completely different you might like to take a gentle stroll around Ventnor Botanic Gardens, singing as you go followed by a picnic in the park on The Sing-About-Stroll (208) on Friday 18th May. And no walking festival would be complete without the obligatory Speed Dating Walk (78) on Sunday 6th May (as sen on BBC’s Countryfile) – but there are only places for men left!

Yummy…

I don’t know about you but walking always works up an appetite – and so what better than a good hearty walk followed by some yummy Island delights?  The Bevois Tea Party Walk (30) on Sunday 6th May around Niton is followed by afternoon tea and cakes, while Twilight Adventures (17) on Saturday 5th May is a night-time adventure in fields, forest and churchyards followed by a chip supper.Yummy - supplied by IW Walking Festival

Teapots (64) on Tuesday 8th May might appeal more; a pretty woodland walk from Mottistone that culminates at Chessel Pottery who make one of the best cream teas on the Isle of Wight. And for some stunning local ice cream, Orchids and Ice Cream (192) on Thursday 17th May is a must – make sure you try the award winning honeycomb flavour!