Craiglea Self-Catering Holiday Cottage, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions—A Walk on the West Side

Beach, downs, Bronze Age burials, coloured sands, tat, Needles Battery, and refreshment choices—a walk with many interests.

With 67 miles of coastal walks, The Isle of Wight offers you’ve plenty of choice. West Wight is unspoiled with large tracts owned by the National Trust. Try this one from the door of Craiglea Holiday Cottage. (Not booked? Check availability at our self catering accommodation here) But will you stop for coffee, a pub lunch, a cream tea? It’s a day of decisions! Here is a useful map

Leaving Craiglea, turn right on the Broadway and then right into Madeira Road, a lovely road with Victorian brick villas leading straight down to Totland Bay beach. At the intersection with Glanville Road, cross the road and follow the path diagonally to the right and descend the steps. There you can observe progress on the renovation of Totland Pier.

Take that reminder of past gentility the Turf Walk amongst Scots pine and sycamore, willow and cherry plum (Paul Hyland, Wight, 1985).

Option 1 if you prefer not to descend and ascend(!) to the beach, veer left at Glanville Road and join the grassy Turf Walk. At the end continue along on Cliff Road a short distance until you find a footpath on the right which leads to Headon Warren.

If you descend the steps, turn left along the front. You soon pass the Waterfront Bar and Restaurant. If it’s after 10:30 a.m., will you stop for coffee? By now it will only be 10 minutes after leaving Craiglea so that might seem a bit soon but if you left before coffee and croissants… and after all, it is your holiday!

After the Waterfront Restaurant continue in the same direction. The next building is the Totland Life Boat Station:

Totland takes its name from “tout land” meaning “look out”, making it an obvious site for a lifeboat station. In 1870, after the money had been raised by local Sunday school children, one duly opened at the sound end of the bay. In 1915. the Totland Lifeboat Station was equipped with the Island’s first steam lifeboat. The station closed in 1924, but part of the 1884 boathouse still stands. (Roy Brinton, Isle of Wight, 2006)

Note the rhyme on the wall and then climb the steps just beyond the building. At the top you join the Option 1 path described above.

The path takes you to Headon Warren, a 276 hectare SSSI. It consists of two main areas, Headon Warren, a heather clad down to the north and the chalk downs of West High Down andTennyson Down to the south. It encompasses The Needles, The Needles Battery and Alum Bay. The land is owned and managed by the National Trust. The site was notified in 1951 for both its biological and geological features.

The Warren is also the site of a Bronze Age burial mound, dating to about 1500 BC (Roy Brinton, Isle of Wight, 2006)

After looking at the burial mound, follow the paths towards Alum Bay and descend to the road. Turn right and proceed to Alum Bay. Here you can descend on the chair lift to see the coloured sands. There are numerous gift and sweet shops including locally made mints. Carry on up the main road, noting the garden on the right with small statuary and then follow the footpath on the left.

Option 2 Instead of taking the footpath, continue on the main road to view the Needles Batteries. The Needles Batteries were constructed between 1861-95 for coastal defence against a threat of invasion by France. Here you have another refreshment decision to make. After the detour, rejoin the walk at the footpath opposite the gnome garden.

You have a choice of taking a lower or higher footpath. The higher one will take you towards Freshwater Bay past the Tennyson monument. The lower one takes you back towards Totland.

Cream tea or no cream tea? another decision. The lower footpath will lead you past Warren Farm where there are cream teas.

Whatever you decide after Warren Farm continue on this lower footpath until you come to a car park. Turn left and at the crossroads is Highdown Inn. More decisions—to lunch or not to lunch?

After leaving the Inn, continue down Weston Lane and turn left on Hurst Hill and then right on Weston Road. This takes you back to The Broadway and home.

We hope you enjoyed the walk and the decisions you made… but will the decisions be the same next time…?

Address:
Craiglea Holiday Cottage
The Broadway, Totland Bay
Isle of Wight PO39 0BW
(01983) 700 828 email: lkbggables@gmail.com