The Devil's Chimney
The other day we took the kids out for a walk. They are often reluctant to walk but when we said we were going to climb the Devil’s Chimney they immediately became animated and made noises bordering on excitement.
And so, my wife packed a picnic and we drove out along the winding coastal road from Shanklin to a small carpark near Bonchurch at St Boniface Down, called the Leeson Road car park on the A3055 road. The Chimney can be tackled either from below, as it were, or climbing down into it. We opted to walk around the circular footpath, above Bonchurch’s landslipping rocks, and approach it from below, so we had the excitement of the ‘Chimney’ being the final assault before getting back to our car. You can also join the Island’s coastal path on the route if you wish.
It’s a pleasant walk, but does contain many steps, which can be slippy, and of course a final very steep formation of steps up the ‘Chimney’ so I don’t think it would be suitable for a buggy or anybody that has mobility problems. There used to be a rope swing about half-way around the walk in the wood, but it’s been cut down now although there are fallen trees to clamber over and a rock called the ‘Wishing Seat’ to have your picture taken on for fun.
As far as the Devil’s Chimney, we didn’t see any evidence of satin or smoke. Instead we found a tall, narrow crack, or fissure, in the rock which we had to squeeze through (probably not the best route for somebody who has been eating too many pies) before ascending the stone steps up to the top, where we were all happy to have survived another devilish Island challenge.
So, what are you waiting for you naughty devils! Get your walking boots on, grab your pitchfork and get climbing…
6 April 2017