Staying the Distance - Covering 72 Miles Around the Island

With over half the Island designated an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, 60 miles of Heritage Coastline and over 50 miles of footpaths covering un-spoilt countryside – walking around the Isle of Wight suddenly makes a lot of sense. This year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival (28th April to 13thMay) has over 90 walks covering the whole of the Island, with everything from a one mile walk to a 66 mile (106km) walk.

Three of the walks aim to walk around or across the whole Island and can take anything up to 24 hours. These walks are not for the faint hearted, and even if you opt for the walks that take place over a number of days you do need to be a seasoned walker. But Walk the Wight does have a shorter flat walk for all abilities.

Isle of Wight Challenge

This round the Island 106km charity challenge is part of the Ultra Challenge series and takes place over the weekend of May 5th and 6th. You have to register and choose from the Full Island Challenge of 106km, which can take over 24 hours; the Half Island Challenge picking the first (52km) or second half (54km); or the Quarter Island Challenge choosing the first (25km) or last (26km) quarter of the course. The walk begins in Chale, along the south west coast and past the Needles and up to Cowes at half way, then clockwise around Ryde, Bembridge and the Bay Area and back to the base camp in Chale, with rest stops every 12.5km and full support, snacks, and drinks.

The Beaches, Bars and Blisters Walks

A well-established way to walk the Island’s coastline, Beaches, Bars and Blisters Walks gives you the option to tackle the 72 mile coastline in three more manageable days with author David Yates, catching all the coastal views. Day one (May 11th) is from East Cowes Chain Ferry to The Steamer Inn on Shanklin seafront (23 miles); Day two (May 12th) is from The Steamer Inn to Freshwater Bay (23 miles) and Day 3 is from Freshwater Bay to West Cowes Chain Ferry (26 miles). You do still have to be fit and able, with no mobility impairment of any kind and each of these walks is going to take well over 8 hours. 


Walk the Wight

The Island’s flagship walking event, Walk the Wight has raised over £4m in sponsorship for the Island’s Earl Mountbatten Hospice since it began 28 years ago. This year on Sunday May 13th it will be walked by over 7,500 walkers, who all have to register online. It’s a very sociable event with people walking in fancy dress, and the camaraderie between walkers is one of the reasons for its continued success.

The full walk from Bembridge to Alum Bay is 26.5 miles and takes between 8 and 12 hours. You can take half of the walk, either Bembridge to Carisbrooke (12.5 miles) or Carisbrooke to Alum Bay (14 miles) if you don’t want to attempt the whole walk. Or you might like to try the flat walk of eight miles along the former railway line from Sandown to Shide that takes between 2 and 4 hours. Register your dog to accompany you and they get their own number – pay £10 and you get a special limited edition doggy bandana.

myIsleofWight Wild Card

This year sees the introduction of ‘coaching walks’ from Walk With Purpose to the Isle of Wight Walking Festival. There are eight of these walks; two on Career Development, two on Life Change, two on New You and two on Enterprise Skills. Limited to ten people per walk, you and your Personal Coach will join others who share an interest in the walk topic for a two hour walk and coaching session that culminates with refreshments at The Seaview Hotel or the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes. These walks are designed as tasters for the one to one walks organised by Walk With Purpose who have been getting great results. For more information or to book a bespoke one to one walk email

Alix Robinson

26 April 2018

By Alix Robinson in Articles