Isle of Wight Spring Walking Festival 2022 – first 50 walks released ahead of May event

The first of two Isle of Wight Walking Festivals for 2022, running from May 7-15, has released the first 50 walks to be enjoyed by all this spring.

Take part with family, enjoy a stroll with friends, connect with new people in the great outdoors, while taking in numerous opportunities to learn something new about the Island’s history, reconnect with nature or discover that perfect photo that is around every bend on the path.

The Isle of Wight is a haven for hikers, walkers and wanderers alike, boasting miles of winding footpaths through beautiful countryside and along stunning heritage coastline, all part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Working closely with the Isle of Wight Ramblers Association, the National Trust and a number of volunteer ‘Walk Leaders’, the walks are graded by pace; from gentle, to moderate and through to strenuous walks for the more experienced hiker.

With many walk leaders offering the experience for free, booking is essential and many of the walk are limited on numbers.

Participants can enjoy a Nature’s Table walk with at a local reserve, exploring habitats and food sources for wildlife, or take on the three day walk around the Island – popping home each evening for food and some restful sleep!

Rescheduled from the 2020 Walking Festival, a 50th Anniversary anecdotal walk celebrates the iconic 1970 Isle of Wight Festival where up to 600 000 people were estimated to attend. The circular route will visit the original Afton site, returning to view the permanent Isle of Wight Festival exhibition at the Dimbola Museum, where a life-size bronze statue of Jimi Hendrix can be found along with images from the 1970 event.

This year will see the return of the Mountbatten Walk The Wight, to it’s traditional place in the calendar. A popular and vital fundraising event for the Mountbatten Hospice, walkers can traverse the 26.5 mile course from Bembridge to Alum Bay, or choose to do the first half or second half only, with a third option of an 8 mile flat walk.

Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten CEO said:

‘We are delighted to be working alongside Visit Isle of Wight to bring the Walking Festival and Walk the Wight together again.

‘We know many visitors like to take part in our iconic walk and we know that as an Island, we rely so heavily on them choosing us as a destination. It makes complete sense to offer lots of opportunities and hope they will come and explore, support our economy but also support our Island hospice.’

‘After an incredibly difficult 18 months, we are really determined to get Walk the Wight back to its very best and this will certainly help us do that.’

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival, organised by Visit Isle of Wight, is an incredible opportunity to get out and discover the history, the wildlife, the sights and sounds – and make new friends – in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of only 7 in the UK.

Sarah Alexander, Co Project Manager of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival said:

‘One of the best ways to experience the Isle of Wight is to get off the beaten track and explore the Island on foot, especially in the spring sunshine!

‘We already have over 50 unique guided routes lined up for our May event, ready to take walkers on a journey to celebrate nature, beautiful landscapes, the breath-taking coastline and the Island’s rich heritage.’

Walking groups are restricted in numbers and all walks must be booked on the Isle of Wight Walking Festival website in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Further walks will be added to the spring programme in the next few weeks.

Long walks include:

The Freshwater Way Circular from Fort Victoria up onto the Tennyson Way and a short distance along the coastal path to Freshwater Bay before returning (10 miles)

The Bluebell Quest from Shanklin Theatre, a lovely Spring themed walk talking in the downs and the woods and enjoying views across the Bay (9.5 miles).

Mid – shorter walks include:

The Carisbrooke and Bowcombe Loop, taking in views of the historic Carisbrooke Castle (6 miles)

The Western Headland of Newtown Creek hosted by Camp Wight (5.5 miles)

Themed walks include:

New for 2022, the Donkey Sanctuary to Shanklin walk hosted by The Gym Group covers 6 miles, following a network of footpaths in the southeast wight and culminating with a HITT work on the beach at Shanklin. 

Join “From hospital beds to flower beds”, to learn more about the rich history of Ventnor Botanic Gardens, now home to an array of tropical plants and flowers – once The Royal National Hospital opened in 1869 for the treatment of chest diseases, mainly tuberculosis.

A historical ‘Fossils and Forts’ beach walk along Yaverland with local author and historian Tim Wander (2 miles)

The Robert Hooke Trail around Freshwater, introducing the life and career of the important scientist, born in Freshwater in 1635 (3 miles)