Westgate Cottage – Self Catering holiday cottage, Isle of Wight

Set in St Lawrence, a recognised area of outstanding natural beauty near the south point of the Isle of Wight

Short walks from Westgate Cottage

There are several short walks from Westgate Cottage with stunning views with dramatic coastline

Pelham Woods

As you come out of the cottage drive turn left and walk to the main road. On the opposite side of the road you will see a gap in the wall which leads you into Pelham Woods. Pelham Woods is owned by the Wight Nature Fund and is the starting points for many of the walks from Westgate Cottage.

To Orchard Bay, Steephill Cove, the Botanical Gardens and Ventnor

Please note: There are some long drops, steep slippery paths, narrow roads with no pavement and dangerous cliff edges along the following walks and, as such, children will need to be very closely supervised and dogs may need to be kept on a lead. These walks may not accessible for people with physical disabilities, prams, very young children and will not be suitable during extreme weather conditions such as high winds, snow or thick fog.

As you enter Pelham woods follow the path to the right parallel to the road. As the path reaches the end of the woods follow the steps up the hill to Inglewood Park (road) then follow the road down until it reaches the main road (Undercliffe Drive). Cross the road from the small green and take the track opposite. Follow the track down as it turns into a path and as you reach the bottom, the Botanical Gardens are on your left. There is a small play area with swings and a slide here and further on into the Botanical Gardens, a café and gift shop.

The lower coastal path heads towards Ventnor from here either from the opposite end of the Botanical Gardens or left from the end of the path that brought you to the Botanical Gardens.

Orchard Bay

From the end of the path, turn right then take the small path first left and you will arrive at Orchard Bay. Orchard Bay has a long history of smuggling dating back hundreds of years. Most recently, in 2002, a boat from the Caribbean was intercepted by Customs and Excise attempting to land a record £90 million of Cocaine here. Before that, the house here was once owned by Errol Flyn who holidayed here.

Steephill Cove

Turning the other direction at the end of the path down from Undercliffe Drive you will be heading towards Ventnor. After passing the Botanical Gardens on your left, take the steps to your right opposite Ventnor Cricket Club. This is not only a more scenic (if slightly longer route) to Ventnor but also take you to Steephill Cove.

Steephill Cove is one of my favourite places on the Isle of Wight. If it’s peace and tranquillity your after, you’ll be in your element! You’ll find a café and restaurant among the handful of cottages nestled behind this beautiful sandy beach. Unfortunately, most of the beach disappears during high-tide, however, during low-tide, there are numerous rock-pool for the kids to search and dogs are not restricted even in summer.

Wheelers restaurant is one of the best-kept secrets on this area. If you like fresh sea food, it’s difficult to get fresher than the food served here. If you take an early morning stroll along the top coastal path, you’ll inevitably see the small fishing boat dropping Lobster pots out to sea, catching what will be served in the restaurant later in the day. If you fancy a meal here, I’d recommend booking a table as early in your stay as possible as the restaurant is sometimes booked-up for weeks in advance in the summer.

Ventnor

Whether you take the path through Steephill Cove or follow the path straight on, it eventually arrive in Ventor at the car park above the Spyglass pub on Ventnor esplanade. The Spyglass is a beautiful pub and serves a great pint in a fantastic location overlooking Ventnor Beach and the sea; however, the food can be a bit hit-or-miss! The most recent meal we had (October 2009) was reasonably priced, average pub food but huge portions! I’m very glad we didn’t order starter when we ate here!

Along the front in Ventnor from the Spyglass, there are several other pubs, cafes and restaurants including the Ale and Oyster, and an Italian restaurant (both are relatively new at the time of writing (November 2009) but neither of which we have tried), a couple of cafes, the Met bar and the Mill Bay Inn. We’ve never been to the cafes, however, the one next to the arcade comes highly recommended to us and we’ve not eaten at the Mill Bay for several years. Last time we ate there, the food was a bit hit-and-miss and the pubs popularity generally seems to have dwindled over the past few years. The Met Bar, however, is very good. It’s not cheap but the food was great and the wireless network was much appreciated! The place is quite new and we initially avoided it due to it’s original restrictions on bringing children there. The restrictions on children are now gone, however, they do ask that children are very closely supervised to avoid disturbing other diners.

To the top coastal path

Please note: There are some long drops, steep slippery paths, narrow roads with no pavement and dangerous cliff edges along the following walks and, as such, children will need to be very closely supervised and dogs may need to be kept on a lead. These walks may not accessible for people with physical disabilities, prams, very young children and will not be suitable during extreme weather conditions such as high winds, snow or thick fog.

As you enter Pelham Woods, follow the steps straight up the hill as it snakes up towards the cliffs.

After a few minutes, you’ll reach a junction. The path to your left is the quickest and most direct route to the top coastal path. Straight on is a longer but more interesting walk to the top coastal path and right takes you along the old railway track towards Ventnor.

I’ve only taken the old railway track once – I wasn’t very impressed! The majority of the route was walking along pavements. I prefer the lower coastal path if I’m going to walk to Ventnor.

The path to the left is pretty straight forward, so to speak. It will take you through a couple of Kissing Gates and up a steep, slippery stepped path straight up to the top coastal path. It’s doesn’t take a lot of explaining – just keep heading upwards!

The path straight on is generally slightly less steep but is more interesting. Following the path to the end will eventually lead you to Inglewood Park (road) where you need to turn left and take the path to the left of the house on your right. This path takes you up a steep, slippery stepped path and then underneath the cliffs. This path will eventually lead you to the top coastal path.

The top coastal path

As you reach the top coastal path you can either turn right (East) towards the top part of Ventnor and towards Ventnor Downs or left (West) towards Niton and Chale.

Personally, I’ve only ever walked in the Niton direction from here so don’t know the path in the opposite direction.

Walking towards Niton, you’ll firstly cross the St. Lawrence Shute (road) before reaching a junction in the path after about half a mile where you can either go towards Whitwell, Niton or back to Westgate Cottage via the bottom coastal path and Orchard Bay

Towards Whitwell

From the top coastal path junction; Turning right, the path takes you towards Whitwell but finished about half a mile before Whitwell where it reaches Whitwell Road. If you fancy the walk, one of the stops on the Pilgim’s Trail is on the Churchyard and the pub next-door is said to be good

Towards Niton and Chale

From the top coastal path junction; carrying on straight ahead will take you to Niton after about 3 miles (then Chale). After a pit-stop at the White Lion pub you can either walk back the way you came, walk to the buddle (pub) and St. Catherine’s Lighthouse before walking back the way you came (the lower coastal path as disappeared between St. Catherine’s Lighthouse and Isle of Wight Glass due to coastal erosion) or carry on to Chale.

The Buddle Pub is down the hill on the Ventnor Road from Niton. As you descend, take the road on the right after the corner and you’ll firstly reach the Buddle Pub and then further on, St. Catherine’s Lighthouse (built 1837).

If you decide to walk to Chale, there are several routes – none of which I am particularly familiar with, however in my opinion, the best path will take you over the hill via St Catherine Oratory before descending to Chale and the White Mouse Pub. You can catch a bus back to the cottage from here (please check bus times before you set off a the taxi service is almost non-existent)

St Catherine’s Oratory (known locally as the Pepperpot due to it’s appearance) is a lighthouse erected in 1328 by (Lord of Chale) Walter de Godeton as an act of penance for plundering church owned wine from the wreck of St. Marie of Bayonne in Chale Bay on April 20th 1313. The lighthouse is a stone structure 4 stories high. It is octagonal on the outside and four-sided on the inside. It originally was on the west side of an adjacent building. The remnants of three other walls are visible at the site. Fires were lit in the tower to warn shipping away from the dangerous shore below, and to this day the Oratory still serves as a seamark.

A few feet away is the foundations of a later lighthouse begun in 1785 but was never finished (known locally as the Salt Cellar) and a Bronze Age Barrow (excavated in 1925)

Back to Westgate cottage via the bottom coastal path

From the top coastal path junction; Turning left you will start to descend towards Undercliffe Drive again. As you follow this path, you reach the continuation of Seven Sisters Road. The footpath goes straight on down the cul-de-sac to the right before reaching Undercliffe Drive, however, this is not recommended as when you reach the road there is no footpath and it leaves you on a blind corner.

From here, I’d recommend following Undercliffe Drive to the left the taking the first right-hand turn down Spindlers Road. At the bottom of here, take the road opposite and to the right sign-posted Isle of Wight Glass (Old Park Road) then take your first left onto Wolverton Road. After about a quarter of a mile, take the first sharp right turn marked ‘Private Road’. This road will take you onto the lower coastal path. As you reach the small collection of houses, take the path to your left. Following this path will take you back via Orchard Bay.

After Orchard Bay and before the Botanical Gardens, take the track to the left which will eventually bring you out on Undercliffe Drive. Cross the road onto the small green and turn left. Walk up Inglewood Park and take the path after the last house on your left before the road bears right.

Take the steps on your immediate left into Pelham Woods and follow the path parallel to the road until it reaches the gap in the wall where you can cross over back to Westgate Cottage.

Timescales

Destination Slow walking pace Fast walking pace
Orchard Bay / Botanical Gardens 25 minutes 15 minutes
Top coastal path 25 minutes 10 minutes
Ventnor 1 hour 30 minutes
Round walk via top coastal path, Wolverton Road, Lower Coastal Path, Orchard Bay then Pelham Woods 2 hours + 1 hour 15 minutes
Niton 2.5 hours+ 1 hour 30 minutes

 

 

 

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