A dog friendly walk from DogPeople
Tennyson Down and The Needles 4 moderate
- Map - Outdoor Leisure 29 (Isle of Wight)
- Distance - About 4 miles
- Stiles - Several – all with Hamish size dog flaps or alternatives
- Date walked - 10.7.07
This route starts from a car park just north of Tennyson Down at the end of a narrow lane south of Totland. It is at grid reference SZ 3247 8558 along a narrow lane going south at a staggered crossroads along the Freshwater to B3322 road.
From the car park turn away from the quarry workings (i.e. left from the direction you travelled along the lane). Go up a bank to reach a path going east. Note a bench on the right hand side (RHS) of the path and turn uphill to pass it on its RHS - you should see a path climbing uphill. Follow the path via several sets of steps and with a fence on your RHS (quarry workings beyond - the fence is not dog proof so take care). Look back as you reach the first steps to see Needles Channel and the mainland beyond - you should easily see Hurst Castle on all but the worst of days.
Follow the path uphill through trees and a wooden kissing gate to reach a wide open area near the top of the Down. Keep ahead to reach a large stone cross that forms The Tennyson Memorial. Note that stock graze this area and you might encounter bovines. After admiring the memorial TURN RIGHT (west - towards the Needles).
Follow a clear path along the middle of the down, great views to both sides, then down into a dip to pass a bench and reach a half size replica of Nodes Beacon (the original used to stand where the memorial now does). GO AHEAD over a stile just beyond the beacon - a good sized dog gap is available on its RHS - then follow another clear path through the gorse etc. Keep ahead over the high part of the Down towards a communication mast and Coastguard Cottages. Keep left of the communication mast when you reach a fence, then go ahead over a stile (dog flap on left hand side - LHS). Pass the communication mast on its RHS to reach a metalled lane. Follow the lane downhill to reach a disused battery (New Battery) then down to a bend just below the Coastguard Cottages.
You now have a choice, ahead at the bend is a footpath (note two coastal path finger posts .. you need the left downhill one) - or you can follow the lane downhill via a zig zag. If you choose the footpath you will save some distance and the need to walk on the lane but there is a stile at top and bottom with the bottom being less dog friendly. If you choose the lane you'll not have a stile to negotiate and the lane is all but traffic free (the open top bus tour does use this route but most other traffic is prohibited). Whichever route you choose keep ahead on the lane (the path rejoins it, so you'll be turning right then) until it turns hard left above Alum Bay. KEEP AHEAD (i.e. turn right off the lane) to join a footpath signed to Tenneyson Down - up a few steps and into a field via a stile (Hamish sized flap on its RHS). KEEP AHEAD to reach a clear footpath running close to a set of electricity poles (with a fence on your LHS after a short distance). Bear slightly right to keep following the path - now more a track - as the electricity poles turn hard left. You are now aiming for the gate and stile by the replica beacon and may have seen the Tennyson Memorial further on.
Cross the stile and follow the track going along the left hand side and bottom of The Down - don't go back up to the memorial. KEEP AHEAD through a bridleway stile gate besides a farm type gate, then pass the quarry on your RHS before returning to the car park.
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