There are so many beautiful woods to go walking in on the Island, but in a spirit of adventure, I thought we should try somewhere new, somewhere we'd never been before... Parkhurst Forest!
If it seems a little surprising that none of us have been to Parkhurst Forest before, then I should explain that:
1. I'm really not joking about the "beach magnetism" thing
2. Its proximity to Newport, which I associate with the weekly food shop, has been a little off-putting!
After parking easily, in a big car park, with an adjacent Picnic area, located just off the Forest Road, we set off with the idea of walking around as much of Parkhurst Forest as possible. We started along one of the easy pathways that are laid out through the trees, that ran parallel to the Forest Road, thinking that if we went as far along the bottom of it as we could, we'd then turn right and walk the length of it. Our 8-year-old son was soon impatient with a set-out pathway, wanting to dive off into the trees at any opportunity, but we assured him there would be plenty of time for this later!
And there was - as we went off the pathways whenever it took our fancy, exploring our environment and finding twig teepees built by previous visitors, and the perennial favourite of children... sticks!!
Including our forays away from the pathways, and a short break for some snacks, we were walking for almost 3 hours in the lovely autumn sunshine, succeeding in our initial aim to get as far from the car-park as possible so well that I had to use Google maps on my phone to find it again! (I nearly didn't include that bit of info, from shame, but it does give you an idea of the size of it).
It had been really windy the night before, and one of the highlights for the kids was finding our pathway blocked by a fallen tree. Not everyone's idea of fun I agree, but it was quite an adventure climbing through its branches to avoid turning back on ourselves. We all agreed it was a fantastic walk, our legs felt well exercised, and we'll have to return as we didn't come across the Red Squirrel hide and missed out a couple of the pathways.
Overall, I’d recommend Parkhurst Forest on the Isle of Wight for a lovely spring or summer-time stroll, whether that’s with the family, with the dog, or just to get a touch of fresh air. You can find out more about the walking and activities available at Parkhurst Forest on their website.