Top Trails on the Isle of Wight

Two wheels, two pedals, two handlebars, two Lycra covered thighs and you’re ready to take in some of the Isle of Wight's best trails. Here are a few to get you going.

Best Downhill

Brighstone Forest has a specially designed downhill trail for cyclists that wends its way down from the top of the downs. It’s part of the Tennyson Trail if you take it all the way from Freshwater to Carisbrooke. Ventnor Down is known as the 'Killer Climb' and it's an good descent afterwards too - start at the Spyglass Inn on the seafront, follow Bath Road (if you can!) and Zig Zag Road to the top of the hill and then Downs Road up to the top and then you can take in the scenery on the way back down.

Best for Families

Route 23 is a long flat ride following the old railway track from Shanklin to Newport. You can even cross Newport on the new green cycle path and join up with the trail following the old railway line again and carry on all the way to Cowes.

Best Views

Tennyson Trail is hard to beat for views, especially as you descend into Freshwater or along the top of the downs. But there are also fantastic views from the top of St Martin’s Down and St Boniface Downs if you’re following a trail from Ventnor or Wroxall towards Shanklin.

Best Woodland

Parkhurst Forest has forest trails throughout its sprawling acreage and you may even get to see a red squirrel while you’re pedalling. White on Wight's Cowes to Shorwell Trail includes a route through the forest and ends at a nice country pub, the Crown Inn. Obviously there's Brighstone Forest too (mentioned above) but there are other smaller woods such as Firestone Copse that have bridleways crossing them.

Best Designed Rides

Cheverton Farm in Shorwell now has a Mountain Bike Centre with specially designed trails through 298 hectares of farmland, chalk downs, coniferous and broadleaf woodland. They are just 10 minutes south of Newport, so no more than 30 minutes away from any Island location. The main trails with names such as Chevy Chase, The Uncle Buck and the Grizzly Adams include features such as Devil’s Spine, Pump Track and Jumps and Chain Breaker Hill. It is open from April until the end of September.

Best Kept Secret

We were given this one by Jason Joshua at TAV Cycles in Ryde and it’s one of his faves, with variety of all sorts, woodland, downhill and a slog uphill at Coombley and a lovely return along the seafront. It’s about 22 miles in total, with a few hills but not extreme.

Start in Ryde at Haylands School in Playstreet Lane, turn into Dame Anthony’s Common and then up to Brickfields and on through Havenstreet. Opposite the IW steam Railway take the bridleway to Coombley and at the top of that hill turn left at the road – you can cycle on the greenery alongside the road here if you wish. Turn right onto the bridleway called Shepherd’s Trail and as you go down here look out for the bridleway to Knighton. Then up Knighton Shute bridleway and turn right onto Bully’s Hill. Continue on the road for a short way and then on the left opposite the viewpoint car park is a bridleway called the Nunwell Trail, which goes to Brading.

Through Brading and turn right at the church and at the end of the lane on the left pick up the old railway line through St Helen’s marsh. At the end turn right up into St Helen’s, through the village and right up to Nodes Point Holiday Village. Past the holiday village on the left is a bridleway to Seagrove Bay. Then from here it is along the seafront to Seaview and Ryde. 

Jo Macaulay

12 October 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles

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