Walking The Isle Of Wight Coastal Path

Isle Of Wight Coastal Path : Fishbourne To Gurnard

Wight Link Ferry Fishbourne Isle Of Wight Coastal Path
Wight Link Ferry Fishbourne Coastal Path Signs

We took the train to Portsmouth Harbour, after changing at Portsmouth and Southsea, arriving by HMS Warrior then walking about half a mile to the Fishbourne car ferry as it is a bit cheaper than the others.

Half an hour on the ferry gave us time to rearrange our bags to make walking more comfortable and to sample a Goddards Ale Of Wight, which was very nice.

Exiting the ferry terminal at Fishbourne and turning Westwards we saw our first coastal path sign. The route seems to be well signposted but you do have to keep your eyes open as many of them are above eye level or may be obstructed by foliage.

There is not much sign of the sea on this stretch, most of the walking is down minor roads and lanes, but there are many well tended houses and gardens to look at, interspersed with more rural stretches of road and some small areas of woodland.

The first point of interest is Osbourne House just before you enter East Cowes. Osbourne House was built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert between 1845 and 1851 as a summer home and rural retreat and is now looked after by English Heritage.

Furious Speeding Memorial Cowes Chain Ferry Cannons For Cowes Week
Furious Speeding Memorial Cowes Chain Ferry Cannons For Cowes Week

Just outside Osbourne House at the top of the hill above East Cowes is a memorial to the first person to get a speeding ticket on the island. Back in 1899 Mr Henry House was prosecuted for “furious speeding” at the grand old speed of 18 miles per hour. Henry House sounds like quite a character, having previously been fined for speeding in a boat on the River Thames. He was also an inventor who made a button hole machine, a bundling machine for sticks, boats for royalty and even dabbled with a flying machine. (see Wikipedia for Henry Alonzo House).

East Cowes seemed rather industrial although it may have nicer parts that we did not see. It does however have a supermarket where we stocked up on a few supplies. Fourty pence purchased a return ticket on the very frequent chain ferry from East to West Cowes which was money well spent even though we will not be using the return part of the deal. Do check the running times if you plan to travel in the small hours as it is not a 24 hour service.

Rosetta Cottage Thorness Bay Beautiful Sunset
Rosetta Cottage Thorness Bay Beautiful Sunset

West Cowes seemed much nicer than its Eastern twin boasting at least half a dozen nice looking pubs and an old fashioned shopping area. Following the coastal path out of town we at last came down to the sea and passed the cannons outside the Royal Yacht Squadron that are used to indicate the start of Cowes Week. Rosetta Cottage is on the seafront and is the place where Winston Churchill's parents met and is now a holiday home run by the National Trust, following which we soon pass Egypt Point, the most Northerly part of the island with views over to the mainland.

Continuing on to Gurnard we turn inland to find the campsite at Comforts Farm for the night, which turns out to be a good site with the added bonus of having a rather nice pub about 100 metres away, which is quite far enough to walk after a long half day with a heavy backpack. Watch out for the cows near here, they started to follow us and were catching up just as we got to the end of the field where we made a fairly hasty negotiation of the stile.


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Looking West To The Needles

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