Greens of Silsden
The enterprising church warden – Greens of Silsden
20th May 2017
Penrith on a plate
Penrith on a Plate – Dollops of foodie fun
16th June 2017

Walking on the Isle of Wight

CICERONE ARTICLES

Last month we reviewed Cicerone’s new book The Hebridean Way. Being an island race, this month we have stuck to the same theme – with a trip to the Isle of Wight.

There is a great deal more to the Isle of Wight than ‘bucket and spade’ holidays. As author Paul Curtis points out, there are an incredible 326 miles of footpaths, including a 70 mile coastal path, on an island measuring 23 x 13 miles. The default scenery is undulating downland, interspersed with wooded areas, never far from glimpses of the sea.

Although Paul Curtis, who lives on the Isle of Wight, describes differences in the island’s population, there is a strong sense of community. Serious crime is very rare and there is a distinct lack of ‘edge’, which perhaps reinforces the widely held notion that it is ‘stuck in the 1950s’. The rather staid atmosphere today is presumably a great contrast with life before ‘Victorianisation’, when life in the fields was tough, smuggling was commonplace, and the forbidding coastline claimed numerous lives.

Taking a car onto the ferry can be expensive and so visitors may wish to consider leaving it on the mainland. The island’s bus service, is excellent and all of the 33 walks in the book start and end within easy reach of a bus route. There is even a modest railway. If recreational walking is the island’s crown, then the Coastal Path must be its jewel and links places of considerable interest – from Palmerston’s ‘follies’ to the Tennyson Monument. Add to these some 2,000 listed buildings, and If this sounds like an enticing combination – it is!

Cicerone has carved a niche for itself with high quality OS maps, useful tables and books that are genuinely informative, covering not just routes, but history – natural and cultural – and practical information. Head for Portsmouth Harbour Station and a very civilised adventure.

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