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Two Trails Weekend!

Sues Walks

One of the great things about walking is how a grey day can turn into an adventure, as I discovered one cloudy weekend in January, with two trails clocked up: The Shepherd’s Trail on Saturday and The Hamstead Trail on Sunday. Let me tell you a little about each.

The Shepherd’s Trail – using The Isle of Wight Walkers Map

Starting from Carisbrooke Priory car park, the first part of this trail I’ve done before on a circular around Carisbrooke Castle – over to Tennyson Trail. Whilst admitting I’m not the greatest at following instructions, I would question paras 2 and 3, and suggest anyone else trying to follow the trail at this point, just ..well, do just that – follow the signs, they’re thankfully quite clear at this point. The rest of the instructions were pretty good – as in, I could follow them (which, as I’ve said, isn’t saying a great deal – may be lack of reading glasses whilst out not helping my cause!)

The trail finished at Shepherd’s Chine – where descent proved way more challenging than anything thrown at me the whole of the previous 4 hours put together! This was due to ultra slippery conditions on the path going down to the chine – that is to the right of the Chine, where the steps at the bottom are just about holding good – stream at bottom proving useful in de-clogging boots – though shingle on the beach is ultimately more effective.

I have a confession here. Much as I enjoy the hidden by-ways of inland walking on the Island, it is the coast that for me reveals the greatest thrills – as is obvious from my photos. I am a sucker for the vibrant colours of the different rock formations, the coastal vistas and the sea birds. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy some inland walking but … there, my secret is out!

So, back to that trail – 7 miles (I didn’t check but I was walking fast so 4 hours walking would suggest to me it was a bit longer)

And so to Trail 2 The Hamstead Trail on Sunday

Another 7 miler – though here I have another confession. Having done the first bit, from the coast, as part of the Coastal Walk, I started at the junction where the Hamstead trail parts from the Coastal Trail – at a Pigeon Coo Farm! The walk took three hours but was heavy going – literally, due to the mud (accumulated on the bottom of my boots). Very muddy and very squelchy – not really ideal walking conditions but enjoyable even so – I always love discovering new places and I haven’t walked this part of the Island, through Wellow and beyond, before. Thankfully the trail didn’t take me through Brightstone Forest (see previous blog references – namely, never doing that again!) but up the far side of. With a most conveniently placed bench at the top of the downs, for my lunch break – and a brief but wonderful encounter with a vole! (see pics) .. might `

have been a mouse – I’ll leave it to the experts to correct me! And then down to the beach – though, needless to say, not quite that simple, with a number of climbs before the eventual descent – this time, way more easily onto the beach from Brook Chine car park – and then along to that amazing shipwreck via incredibly rock formations plus a number of dinosaur footprints – that always send me into ecstasies! Tide not far enough out to reveal as many as last time I was down there – but still a smattering – well worth walking the extra 100 yards or so!

Of the two, if I had to choose, I think the scenery of the second, once reaching the top of the downs, a little more spectacular – but both trails had a lot going for them.

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