Wednesday 3 August 2016
Lymington, Hampshire to Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight
12 miles (+ ferry)
I caught the train from Reading back to Lymington Town and then crossed the Lymington River, arriving at the ferry terminal before midday. This walk has definitely had a big impact on my need to plan and book. despite 6 days off I had not booked a thing and, best of all, was not stressed about it. That’s 18 years of conditioning I’ve undone in the last year!
I was able to board the next ferry and by 1pm I was crossing the River Yar and walking out of Yarmouth.
I entered Fort Victoria Country Park and followed the track with the carved animals towards Fort Albert. These forts are opposite Hurst Castle and, together, all 3 protect the entrance to The Solent.
At Colwell Bay I stopped in the shade to eat my sandwiches and cake (thanks mum).
The coast path connecting Colwell and Totland Bays only reopened last year after work to circumvent a landslide that happened in 2012.
From Totland I headed over Headon Warren, the South side covered in beautiful purple heather.
I could see The Needles and Alum Bay with its chairlift down the cliff. This is where mum’s testube full of layers of different-coloured sand came from. I walked straight past as I’ve been on it before and I didn’t want to negotiate the pleasure park.
I climbed the cliff heading out to The Needles’ Batteries. There were some great views out towards Old Harry. The chalk cliffs were beautiful and white. The Needles looked thin and worn away!
Between 1956 and 1971 there was a rocket engine test site here. Black Knight and Black Arrow rockets were held down in gantries and their engines fired up. If they passed they were sent Down Under for test launching.
I turned East and headed up Tennyson Down to Tennyson’s Monument. Erected in 1897 it dominates the skyline. From the top of the Down I could just about see all the way to St Catherine’s Point and the flashing lighthouse.
I dropped down into Freshwater Bay and then headed back to Totland, this time along the roads.
The Western tip of the Isle of Wight is an island in its own right as the River Yar runs all the way from Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay, bisecting the land.
I got lucky and there was a spare bed in the Youth Hostel. I didn’t want to camp in the gale force wind that was blowing. I was able to get a cheap evening meal and access to rubbish wifi.