Day 366 East Wight: The IOW Riviera

Friday 5 August 2016

Ventnor to St Helens

16 miles

Fakenham Farm Campsite

After a relatively chilly night everything was soaked in the morning so I took my time waiting for the sun to dry my tent. I caught the 9.30 bus back to Ventnor and went for a nice breakfast. 

a map of the IOW (upside down) in a paddling pool in Ventnor
Ventnor seafront
I love it when I find a good cafe; La Cantina in Ventnor was very good. It was almost 11am by the time I set off, walking along the Wheeler’s Bay to Bonchurch Seawall. It took 6000 cubic metres of concrete to make this ugly thing in 1988. I think I’d prefer a path on the high, chalky cliffs above. 

walking the Wheeler’s Bay to Bonchurch Seawall
In the 19th Century Bonchurch was a fashionable centre for writers and artists, now it seems rather quieter. I passed through, noting the pretty St Boniface Church tucked into the trees.

St Boniface Church
 The day was heating up and I suddenly found myself walking through the trees, across The Landslip. There was no wind in here to cool me down. I might have been walking from Seaton to Lyme Regis as it was very similar terrain. 

a “wishing seat” in The Landslip
The end of The Landslip coincided with the end of The Undercliff at Luccombe Bay. I couldn’t see the Bay without descending but I did see lots of large and well-hidden houses. 

the view to Shanklin and Sandown
I popped out at Shanklin, the site where the Pluto oil pipeline left British shores and pumped oil across to France in 1944. There was more promenade and beach huts than there was beach but lots of people seemed to be enjoying the sunshine. 

Shanklin promenade
I carried on to Sandown, which seemed quite rundown in places; there were a few buildings boarded up and even the zoo looked very tired. 

Sandown beach
Out of Sandown, ahead of me were Red Cliff and Whitecliff. Appropriate names for these sandstone and chalk cliffs. 

Red Cliff and Whitecliff
The headland itself was called Culver Cliff and from the top there were commanding views back to Ventnor, and across Foreland and Bembridge Harbour to the Solent and Hampshire. I could easily make out Portsmouth. 

Sandown Bay around to Dunnose
the view over Bembridge Harbour, Portsmouth in the distance
looking down on Foreland
Whitecliff Bay was where the French landed in 1545 in an attempt to invade Britain before King Henry VIII had built his fort on Bembridge Down. 

Whitecliff Bay and Culver Cliff
The path took in some of the shoreline around Foreland as well as some of the more affluent streets in Bembridge. Here the water looked a rich caramel colour. Eventually I found Bembridge Harbour. 

the ‘caramel’ sea along Foreland
Bembridge beach
Bembridge Harbour is well protected by a huge sandbar called The Duver. 

Bembridge Harbour entrance
Around the harbour were lots of houseboats, some of which were quite big and all were permanent homes. 

one of many houseboats moored in Bembridge Harbour
I stopped at a small campsite in St Helens, across the harbour from Bembridge. It had been another long, hot day. 

St Helen’s Church ruins, almost on the beach

2 thoughts on “Day 366 East Wight: The IOW Riviera

  1. Chris F August 7, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    Luccombe Bay I cannot believe you of all people did not visit a place with such a great name……..


    • Lucy August 8, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      I can’t reply to all your messages, but as ever, I look forward to each one and they never fail to make me laugh. I didn’t think about the old Harry’s rocks double entendre!!!


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