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

The Best Cycling & MTB Routes in West Isle of Wight

Cycling and mountain biking are great ways to explore the trails, lanes and routes of the Western part of the Isle of Wight, which features the quiet towns of Yarmouth, Totland Bay, Freshwater and Alum Bay. It’s definitely the part of the island to visit if you enjoy the outdoors and want to get away from the crowds, and you can cover lots more ground on a bike than you can on foot. We love walking and riding around this beautiful area, and our Holiday Cottage in Totland Bay is centrally located on the western side of the island. Here are some of our favourite rides and others that are on our list for our next visits to the cottage.

Like the idea of an MTB holiday in West Wight? Check availability at our holiday cottage now! We have a garage where you can secure your bikes and somewhere for you to wash bikes down after a muddy ride.

Route 1: Totland, Alum Bay, Freshwater & Yarmouth Loop
10 miles
Ride: easy, one hill at start
Surface: roads & concrete paths, hard packed cycleway
Suitable for: MTB, hybrid, commuter

A circular cycle route from Totland Bay through Freshwater Bay to Yarmouth, and back around the sea wall. A nice, easy route to get you warmed up. Mainly on surfaced lanes, you do get a bit of a workout riding up from Totland to Headon Warren but there is a long flat section weautiful views of the Western Yar Estuary from the surfaced traffic free cycleway into Yarmouth. Yarmouth is a great place to stop after about 6 miles for a coffee or ice cream.

The official route heads back on the A3054 from Yarmouth.

Enjoy a pint at The Broadway Inn just a few doors away from Craiglea Holiday Cottage on your return or just head back to the cottage and chill out in the garden.

There are lots of cafes all the way round; good sea swimming at Freshwater Bay, Totland and Colwell. You can do this route on a regular road bike; no MTB required.

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Route 2: Cowes & Newport Loop
Cycling Route from Craiglea Holiday Cottage over Brighstone Downs past Newport, Cowes and Freshwater
46 miles
Ride: medium, first 1/4 hardest
Surface: roads, tracks & cycleways
Suitable for: MTB, hybrid

Mostly tracks but some roads. The first 1/4 of the route, which follows the Isle of Wight Downs from Freshwater to Shorwell, is mostly tracks and quite hilly. After this the route is largely flat following quiet roads and cycleways. Nice areas to stop for a few hours in Cowes and Yarmouth. The route passes right by the New Inn in Shalfleet so if you are ready for a very nice sit-down meal about 3/4 of the way around this would be a recommended stop. Medium effort.

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Route 3: Totland to Ventnor One Way

Across the island from coast to coast using official cycle routes. Taking the Stenbury Trail from Ventnor, then Yar River Trail and Worsley Trail in the centre. Finally Tennyson Trail along the top of the downs to The Battery at The Needles. Good surfaces, as using official cycle routes, 95% off road, lots of small hills and great views down to The Needles.

Route 4: Isle of Wight Cycle Challenge: Around the whole Island!

IOW Challenge route for the 2011 Charity Campaign, Overall terrain is hilly towards the south of the island but otherwise relatively flat. Fair amount of street riding but balanced out by some nice country routes

Route 5: Yarmouth Circular

Longer fairly easy cycling on cycleway and country lanes with a wonderful off
road section on top of the downs with views over the Solent and the south
west coat of the island. The last part of off road clockwise is a steep rutted
climb for 15 – 20 min, then it levels off before descending through the golf
course (please keep to the path) into Freshwater Bay.

Route 6: Isle Of Wight ‘Middling Downs’ Route

25 mile return loop from Freshwater to Shorwell and back. Big views and very nice pub in Shorwell, therefore could quite feasibly take all day. This route has been published in Singletrackworld magazine. Joins up with Easy route if you’re traveling from Lymington.
Distance: 25 miles
Time: 2 hours
Total ascent: 700m

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Get PDF route map from singletrackworld

Route 7: ‘Big Ryde’ Route

Up and down all the hills on this less-traveled side of the island. 40 miles of lovely singletrack and lots of up’n’down easily takes up the whole day.
Distance: 40 miles
Time: 5 hours
Total ascent: 1179m

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The route is described in this Singletrack Magazine webpage. Get PDF route map from singletrackworld.

Route 8: Big Downs to Ryde: the off-road killer

Joins ‘Middling Downs’ and ‘Big Ryde’ together into a monster 60 mile off-road loop. Only for people happy to ride all day off-road!

Seven Hills Killer


Round the Island Off-road Randonee

Brighstone Shorwell Loop

Brighstone, Ventor, Godshill Loop

Bits to incorporate into your own routes

A nice route over Mottistone, Brighstone and Limerstone downs along the Tennyson Trail:
70 mile “Round the Island” route. On road, does not hug the coast as much as the Cycle Challenge, and is a fair bit hillier.
Off road route from Shorwell near Tennyson Trail to Cowes through Parkhurst forest here

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Craiglea Holiday Cottage
The Broadway, Totland Bay
Isle of Wight PO39 0BW
(01983) 700 828 email: