Nature Trail from Bembridge Windmill

Open from March each year, Bembridge Windmill is the Island's last remaining windmill and one of the Isle of Wight's most iconic images.

This small Grade 1 listed tower windmill, built in 1700, was last seen in action in 1913 - but daily tours allow up close access to the original machinery - much of which is still intact. The mill is open from 10.30am till 5pm. But don’t forget to take your walking shoes with you when you visit as there are a number of lovely rambles from this location that take in the stunning scenery and the local wildlife.

The windmill has a leaflet on the nature trails you can take nearby that has things to look out for and easy to follow directions. One of the best Bembridge Windmill walks is the Culver Trail, that you can pick up right outside the windmill. This three-and-a-half-mile circular trail begins by walking down the pathway that runs downhill from the mill and through the one of the most ancient woodlands on the Island – Steyne Wood. Here you will find the floor carpeted with wildflowers in the spring, and the woods are full of local wildlife including our iconic red squirrels.

The walk then skirts Bembridge Airport, where you may be lucky to see small aircraft taking off and landing, or gliders being towed into the sky. You could drop into the Propeller Inn here for a drink or lunch, which has views across the runway.

The path then rises up on to Culver Down, taking in the Yarborough Monument and the far reaching views over the eastern end of the Island, the Sandown and Shanklin Bay area to the south and at the old battlements at the tip you can look down on Whitecliff Bay below. On a fine day you will also get a good view across to the mainland too. The Culver Haven pub and restaurant just near to the monument makes a great place for lunch or a drink with a view.

Easing down from the top of the downs, you make your way back along the coastal path and then past Kingswood Activity Centre before making your way back up to Bembridge Windmill. The walk should take around an hour and a half but with refreshment stops you may be longer. It is a fairly easy walk, but it does take in five stiles.

The National Trust also has two circular walks around Bembridge and two more slightly further afield.

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13 May 2016

By Jo Macaulay in Articles