Wandering across the western part of the Isle of Wight from Carisbrooke to the Needles, the Tennyson Trail is a lovely way to celebrate Hampshire Day, 15 July.
The trail displays much of the best sides of Hampshire’s great south island. It is 14 miles long, beginning at the island’s ancient capital, Carisbrooke, in the heart of the island. From here the trail heads west-south-west climbing immediately up to Bowcombe Down and then into the Brighstone Forest. Descending a little, to cross the ridge of Brook Down and Afton Down, there is a glorious view over the south coast of the island, and then down to the sea at Freshwater Bay.
The Tennyson Trail then leads along the chalk cliffs of the south coast, Tennyson Down, and to the western end of the island at the Needles. It finishes at the Alum Bay close by.
The route is not of small footpaths: most of it could be driven until 2006. It is therefore a well defined, broad track. It leads to many places though where diversions can be taken to the hills or beaches.