This is an easy and scenic walk around the northeastern side of the island that offers some grand views over the western Solent. Initially the trail heads out of the town of Ryde along the promenade before leaving the seafront at Nettlestone Point in Seaview. It heads above Seagrove Bay before diverting inland, finally approaching the shore once more near the ruins of St Helens's church.
A spectacular stroll along a causeway on the northern side of Bembridge Harbour leads to the village of St Helens; this is followed by a walk along a road atop the embankment that forms the southern edge of the harbour. The sea proper is rejoined once more in Bembridge, and the foreshore is then followed as far as Bembridge Lifeboat station.
2 hours 45 minutes
Map of the leg
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format.
This walk starts off at the bus station in Ryde. Leave the bus station and turn left to head eastwards along the road called the Esplanade for a little under half a mile, passing a roundabout on the way. At SZ600926 turn left along a promenade, following it as it passes a lake, a lifeboat station and Appley Tower on the right. 1.2 miles after leaving the road it passes Puckpool Point and reaches a Springvale Road beside a pub.
Continue straight on along Springvale Road (later Duver Road) for 0.6 miles until it curves sharply to the right at SZ625917. Here continue straight on along a promenade for a quarter of a mile until it ends at a road. Turn left and follow the road as it curves around, following the foreshore before curving to the right uphill, becoming the High Street. Head uphill along the High Street for a couple of hundred yards and then turn left along Pier Road.
When Pier Road meets the shore once more continue straight on along a path in front of some flats; it curves to the right to meet the road once more. Turn left and head south along the road until it ends, and then take a footpath that heads off to the left, angling down towards the sea. The path ends by some public toilets on Ferniclose Road. Turn right up the road and follow it as it curves to the left, becoming a track. It curves to the right once more to take a south-southwesterly course.
A quarter of a mile after the bend a junction with another path is reached on the left at SZ630902; turn left down this footpath and follow it southeastwards for a fifth of a mile until it meets a track by a golf course. Turn right to head south down this track; it passes the entrance to a caravan park on the right. At SZ632897 turn left across a stile to enter a field. Descend down the field to the southeast, aiming for the far corner. Cross a stile at the bottom and then turn left to head southeastwards with a stream on the left. The path emerges out onto Duver Road at SZ635894.
Turn right to follow The Duver as it twists and turns in a rough southerly direction for about a fifth of a mile, passing the entrance to a car park on the left. At SZ636891 turn right along a footpath that heads southwestwards across an area of boggy ground to meet Bembridge Harbour by the start of a causeway. Turn right and follow the causeway southwestwards; it eventually curves to the right just before joining dry land at a road. Turn left along this road with water on the left, and then turn right to head west with houses on the left. After a short distance turn right and then left to reach Latimer Road. Turn left and follow Latimer Road westwards for a few hundred yards until it ends at the B3395 road.
Turn left and follow the B3395 road as it follows the southern edge of Bembridge Harbour eastwards for a mile. It reaches the Pilot Boat Inn on the right; as the road curves to the right two tracks head more or less straight on; take the left-hand one of these and follow it uphill until it ends at Ducie Avenue. Turn left down the avenue and follow it for a short distance towards the sea. At the bottom take a path leading off to the right, which soon joins the foreshore.
Follow the foreshore for about 0.8 miles until it reaches the pier belonging to Bembridge Lifeboat at SZ656880.
Places of interest
Ryde is a small seaside resort facing the Solent. It is fronted by a large expanse of sand at low tides, which makes it a popular place for visitors in the summer months. The sands also led to the construction of the three long piers that dominate the seafront. A long promenade runs eastwards from the town, passing Puckpool Point before finally ending in Seaview.
The town is the terminus of the sole remaining railway on the Isle of Wight, which skirts the eastern side of the island to reach the town before extending over the pier. It also has regular bus services to Newport, Ventnor and East Cowes. A passenger ferry runs to the pier head and a hovercraft to the shore near the bus station. When combined with the vehicle ferry that disembarks at nearby Fishbourne, the town earns a claim to be the gateway to the island.
location UID #9
Ryde Pier - the fourth longest in the UK - is actually three piers alongside each other, and as such is perhaps the largest such pier in the country.
The first pier was opened in 1814 and was later extended to 681 metres; this is the pier that currently carries both vehicles and people. In 1864 a tramway pier was opened alongside it, and in 1880 a third was built alongside the tramway pier to carry trains to the pier head. Cars can drive and park at the pier head, which is surely unique in the country.
In 1969 the tramway pier was closed, but its piles have since been occasionally reused during maintenance on the other piers. Unlike many piers the vast structure at Ryde has an assured future, the problem of the expanse of sands only partially being solved by the hovercraft.
A walk along the pier is always worth it at both low and high tides, and the walk can be combined with a train ride back to the shore.
There was another pier at Ryde: the Victoria Pier opened in 1864. Its ferry service did not last long, and it was finally demolished after a lifetime of barely five decades.
location UID #10
Appley Tower is a three-storey Victorian folly that stands on the seafront immediately to the east of Ryde. It has been built to a Gothic style, with battlements and a small round staircase tower sticking above. It was once used by both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II to review the Spithead fleets, and is now home to a display of gemstones and minerals. It is often open to the public during the summer months. It sits on the edge of Appley Park, which itself formed part of the grounds of St Johnís House. Just inland is a memorial to HMS Sirius, a ship that sailed from nearby with the First Fleet to Australia in 1790
location UID #11
Seaview is a small Edwardian seaside resort situated at the eastern end of the large expanse of sands that stretch from Ryde. A 1000-foot long suspension promenade pier opened in 1881, but sadly this was destroyed by a storm seventy years later. The village itself is a beautiful place with a quiet, genteel air. The few assorted shops that line the roads leading up from the shore blend well with the attractive houses and hotel that surround them.
location UID #12
St Helen's church and fort
St Helen's church is a ruined church, the tower of which remains jutted up at the edge of the coast, painted white as a daymark. A great wave destroyed the majority of the church in 1720. St Helen's Fort lies on an island out to sea. This was completed in 1880, and was one of the four Palmsertson forts built in the Solent.
location UID #13
Bembridge Harbour is formed by the flooded valley of the River Yar, which is situated on the northeastern coast of the Isle of Wight. Originally the tidal harbour was further inland at Brading, but the construction of the railway line to Bembridge in 1880 blocked off the southern side and formed the harbour as it currently exists. A large embankment was created to contain the waters (this now carries the St Helens to Bembridge road), and the railway line was constructed behind. As well as gaining a railway line, the embankment allowed a great deal of land to be reclaimed and for a new port to be built at St Helens.
The harbour is a beautiful place; the shore alongside the embankment is lined with boats of various wonderful shapes and sizes, whilst a footpath follows a narrow causeway across its northwestern edge.
location UID #14
An elegant concrete pier juts out into the sea from the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight at Bembridge. Closer inspection shows that the seaward end houses an equally elegant lifeboat house. This narrow pier was constructed in 2010, replacing an earlier 250-yard long structure that had been built in 1922.
location UID #15
The hourly Southern Vectis Route 8 service runs between Newport and Ryde, calling at Bembridge, St Helens and Seaview on the way.