Walk 3: From Castle to Coast
Newport to Freshwater Bay
Route in OS Maps
- Start point: Newport Town Centre or Carisbrooke Castle
- Distance: 19km (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
- Time taken: 5 hours 30 minutes with a 30 minute, including a 30 minute picnic and other shorter stops for photos
- Difficulty rating: Medium
- Waypoints passed: Tennyson Trail SZ 43172 84240 / Trail viewpoint SZ 39807 85025 / Views towards Tennyson Down SZ 37517 85635 / Freshwater Bay SZ 34647 85690
- Parking: Parking in Newport and at Freshwater Bay.
Views from the Tennyson Trail
Enjoying the view
Views West towards Tennyson Down
This is a longer route that is a great one-way trip. After an early climb you spend most of the walk on the hilltops, with incredible views in all directions. I started the route in the centre of Newport. This is a great one for public transport as there’s regular buses to Newport and the finish at Freshwater Bay. You could also shorten the route slightly by beginning at Carisbrooke Castle. Alternatively, ask a friend or family member who’d like a shorter walk to park at Freshwater Bay and meet you on the top of Compton Down to do the last section together – they won’t regret the climb!
Make sure you leave Newport with a picnic – there’s no stops on this route. Head out of town towards the Castle, and make sure you head up to the footpath that goes just around the edge for the best view. If you’ve started early enough, you’ll have time to get your ticket and explore, if not, march onwards and return another day for your history fix. From the Castle there’s some easy footpaths through fields, turning NW to cross the road and climb up to the Tennyson Trail. You’ll be following this to Freshwater Bay and it’s well-signed all the way.
Freshwater Bay finish line!
Once you’re up on the downs it’s pretty much wall-to-wall views for the whole trip. On a clear day you’ll pick out familiar features on the Island and the mainland. The trail rolls gently, but other than one sharper section down to the second road crossing and up again, your climbing is mostly done. The trail is well-maintained and shared with horses and mountain bikers. I’ve done it in summer and winter and the first section has never been busy, leaving you and the wildlife plenty of chance to enjoy the peace and the views.
There’s a shorter section through a forest which provides some welcome shade on a hot day. Turn West at the end of the trees and follow the edge of the forest with stunning views to the South. The section after the second road crossing, over Brook and Compton Downs, is unbeatable. If you’ve already done Walk 2 in this series, you can see over to Tennyson Down and the Monument – your previous picnic spot! If you can wait this long for lunch, there’s some benches with cracking views on this section too!
The trail goes through the golf course at Compton Down, so watch out for golf balls while you’re walking. The descent into Freshwater is the steepest part of the walk – a bit of a knee-burner but luckily not a long one! At the finish in freshwater paddle-tired feet in the sea and enjoy the beach.
A great way to spend a day!