It’s just a quickie – blink and you’ll miss it – so make sure you check out the Autumn Walking Festival’s great rambles and lace up your walking shoes. We’ve had a look through the handy guide, which is also online, and here’s our Top Five selection.
1.The Robert Hooke Trail, Friday 26th October
A picturesque ramble through fields and along paths in beautiful Freshwater, which may have been trodden by 17th century scientist, Robert Hooke (1635 – 1703), is the basis for this walk. He’s the one who had a lot of the ideas that Newton later proved such as deducing that gravity follows an inverse square law, was a pioneer in map making and he was also an early proponent of biological evolution. Born in Freshwater, his father John was a Church of England priest and the curate of Freshwater’s Church of All Saints. The walk starts at 10am at Fort Victoria Planetarium. (Grid Ref: 457 825, Bus: 7, The Savoy) and the duration is 3.5hrs over 7 miles. A voluntary donation to the Robert Hooke Society is requested. Contact: Charles Davidson Tel: (01983) 756788
2. Hendrix in the West Wight, Saturday 27th October
Three hundred years or so later it was the turn of pioneering electric guitarist and singer, Jimi Hendrix, to set the stage alight at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Freshwater. Jimi Hendrix is revisited on this walk from the Hendrix Memorial Garden at Dimbola where his memorial statue stands. You get to view the Afton festival site and hear all about the Island’s amazing invasion of 600,000 hippies who came to see Jimi and many other greats. You also view IW Festival biographer Brian Hinton’s Festival exhibition at Dimbola. The walk starts at 12:30pm at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater Bay (Grid Ref: 345 856 Bus: 12, 7, Freshwater Bay), the duration is 2.5hrs over 4 miles and a donation to Dimbola Lodge is requested. Contact: Steve Brook Tel: (01983) 291122
3. Sing Along With Den, Saturday 27th October
Walk with a spring in your step and a song in your heart, belting out a tune with your host and conductor Den Clare. Song sheets are provided for this flat walk and if you have any requests just contact Den a week before and he can add them to his repertoire. Musical instruments are very welcome; guitars, percussion, even comb and paper! But if you don’t have something to play just bring your voice as there will be plenty of people to sing with on this pretty walk along the cycle track from the former Merstone Station in Merstone Lane. Your singalong begins at 2pm, there is parking for a few cars at this location but the number 3 bus stops just outside and is your best bet. The walk takes around one and a half hours over just three miles and it’s free. Contact Den Clare on (01983) 866999 with any song requests or further details.
4. Wordsmiths of Bonchurch, Sunday 28th October
So many writers came to Bonchurch in Victorian times, Dickens being the most famous and he wrote part of David Copperfield whilst staying at the Winterbourne. The historian and poet Macaulay and the poet Swinburne had homes here too along with many others. See where well-known writers lived and worked on this walk – Dickens used to play rounders with his staff on Bonchurch beach in the afternoons after writing from the early mornings for example. There is an optional strenuous walk through the landslip whose dramatic scenery attracted writers and artists and still does. The walk starts at 10am at Bonchurch Pond (Grid Ref: 574 781 Bus: 3, Upper Bonchurch or Trinity Rd, Ventnor). The duration is 3hrs over 3 miles and a donation to Gift to Nature is requested. Contact: Maggie Nelmes Tel: (01983) 852274
5. Speed Dating Walk, Sunday 28th October
Always popular and always needing more men, the Speed Dating walk along Sandown Bay is billed as the opportunity to ‘Meet the person of your dreams’ and several couples have met this way since the walk began – in fact there have been four weddings! To join in the popular and successful Speed Dating Walk along to Sandown Bay you have to fill in an application form, which is available online. The walk starts at 11am at Fisherman’s Cottage, Shanklin Esplanade (Grid Ref: 585 810 Bus: 2, 3, 22, 23, Shanklin High Street), the duration is 3hrs over 4 miles and the cost is £12 and is non-returnable and includes a light lunch. Contact: Elaine Cesar Tel: (01983) 823070 Mob: 07970 009909