Shorwell and Brighstone Lanes

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Shorwell - Atherfield - Brighstone - Shorwell

From picturesque Shorwell and its famous inn and St Peter's Church (a medieval building which features a 15th Century mural of St Christopher), an easy walk takes you past Wolverton Manor. The present Jacobean house is the second on the site, the first being a moated house, of which only the nearby moat remains. Just beyond is the Elizabethan Westcourt Manor, the second of three such in the vicinity.

An easy stroll along quiet country lanes accompanied by skylark song leads to a spectacular cliff-top walk and some of the best picnic spots on the island. As you walk, look left to the hump of St Catherine's Hill (resembling a miniature Pen-y-Ghent) and the historic lighthouse, known locally as the Pepper Pot. Completed in 1328, it was built by Walter de Godeton as penance for smuggling wine from a local shipwreck which, unfortunately for him, belonged to the church! The failure of this tower and later attempts to safeguard this dangerous coast for mariners due to local weather conditions led to the construction of St Catherine's Lighthouse in 1838, a structure which survives to this day.

As you reach the coast and follow the clifftop path, see where erosion has relentlessly cut back the land and continues to do so, resulting in very recent or more distant events in the island's history, marked by another island phenomenon, the chine (from the Saxon 'Cinan' meaning a gap or yawn). The first of these you'll encounter is Shepherd's Chine (one of twenty such on the island), a deep cleft in the landscape caused by post-glacial drainage of the land. Typically, these are through soft eroding cliffs such as sandstone or clays and can be a few feet or hundreds of metres long.

As you begin the gentle climb towards Barnes High (at 53 metres the highest point of the coastal part of this walk), the rocks underneath you are where the first dinosaur fossils were discovered back in the early 19th Century, a good collection of which are housed in the Dinosaur Farm Museum situated a short distance away. Keep along the clifftop with spectacular views all around before returning inland past chocolate-box cottages and a climb to a view over much of 'Back of the Wight' (and nearly all of the walk!), before a gentle descent back to that inn.

England - South England - Isle of Wight - Coast

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Museum, National Trust, Nature Trail, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Sea, Stately Home, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
23/09/2016 - Richard Nash

Walked today on a perfect September afternoon! A bit less of the Island to negotiate since last update however, no major changes to add to the walk - author.

20/08/2011 - Richard Nash

Walked yesterday - nothing of any significance to add.

28/02/2011 - Richard Nash

More Coastpath has disappeared over the winter but, to date, is still negotiable and will no doubt be re-aligned.

27/04/2010 - Adrian Perkins

Roy Davenport reports that he did this walk on 22/4/10. He says that there is lots of coastal erosion, but it's simple enough to follow the obvious diversions. Otherwise all OK. Thanks for this Roy. Adrian (Admin)

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