My favourite way to explore the Wight is the pounding of feet on the many and various trails to which we’re so lucky to have access. I thought I’d share some of my top routes. My castle run begins in the free car park above the castle. It a hilly route and you head straight down a wooded footpath, at it’s best with ankle-deep autumn leaves, but lovely still in the dappled light of summer.
Emerging through the trees, you run past castle walls so imbued with history, yesterday swarming with summer tourists. Immediately after this is the hardest up and down of the route. It’s steep down Clatterford Shute, then a really brief respite over Lukley Brook, before the climb begins. It’s a pretty steep and just seems to keep on going, joining the start of the Tennyson Trail half way up. It’s worth taking a few moments to catch your breath and enjoy the views back over to castle and the rolling countryside from the top.
There’s a variety of paths down from the trail, but my favourite is a winding route through Bowcombe Wood, currently populated by a lot of pheasants. Crossing the road is roughly half way through the route and it’s back up into the hills. Through the wide fields, the castle is tiny in the distance, soon lost behind the folds of the hills. Push on to the top and the east Wight emerges, on a clear day all the way to Culver Cliff. Turning back north, the route follows another of the Island’s long distance paths, this time the Shepard’s Trail. It’s through more fields, then down through another covered path where you can really get some speed going, before the castle finally comes back into view.
It’s essentially a 360 degree route around the castle at the centre of the Island; up, down and up and down again. Certainly a challenge to my legs, but a lovely route through classic rural Island scenery.