Isle of Wight Holiday – St Catherine’s Walk
We had such a great time on our walk to St Catherine’s Point on the “West Wight” of the Isle of Wight this Easter that we thought we would share it with you. The walk is a great way to experience a stunning part of the Isle of Wight whilst being on holiday. This is a short walk but there are some quite steep slopes and after rain it can be a bit muddy so good walking boots are also recommended. Just remember that whether you are staying in a holiday cottage, holiday apartment, holiday home, or in a seaside holiday retreat muddy boots are best kept outside!
If you perhaps you don’t really fancy walking, there are many alternative things to do whilst on holiday on the Isle of Wight. Take a look at the “About The Island” section on our website for some inspiration. https://www.thewightholidaycompany.co.uk/about-the-island/island-attractions/
St. Catherine’s Point, with its stunning coastal views is one of the best spots on the Isle of Wight. Dramatic chalk cliffs and tumbling landslips descend to a somewhat wild rocky shore, with St Catherine’s Lighthouse perched on the edge. The best part of the walk is at point five (see below) as you find yourself on top of the cliff and the landscape unfolds, with the white lighthouse buildings in the centre.
Start: St Catherine’s Point car park
By bike: The ‘Round the Island’ cycleway passes through Niton
By bus: Service 6 Newport-Ventnor (hourly) passes through Niton
By car: Minor road close to the lighthouse, accessed from A3055
Distance, terrain and accessibility
This walk of 2¾ miles (4.6km), climbs 520ft (160m) and takes about 2 hours. It is short but challenging and very steep in places, with steps at some points and many stiles. Seats are available at viewpoints.
Points of interest
This large area of coast has had many landslips has spanning over hundreds of years.
Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radiotelegraph system, set up an experimental station here in 1900, making radio contact with the Lizard Radio Telegraph Station at Bass Point in Cornwall early the following year. The concrete base of Marconi’s communication mast still lies in the field south of the farmhouse. (N.B. Buildings not open to the public).
St Catherine’s Lighthouse
The present 3-tier octagonal lighthouse was completed in 1840 following the shipwreck of the ‘Clarendon’ in Chale Bay. However, the tower was later lowered as its light was often shrouded in mist. There are guided tours of the lighthouse in the summer.
1. From the car park, go through the furthest kissing gate and turn left along a grassy track, keeping level and then bearing right. Walk along the top of the ridge and descend steeply to a fence straight ahead. Follow a steep, rough path downhill, with a fence on your right. Cross the stile at the bottom and follow the grassy path straight ahead. This soon bends leftwards, parallel to the sea. The lighthouse will come into view ahead. Cross a stile and follow the path in the direction of the lighthouse. Turn left at the white boundary wall and follow the wall to a gate. Go through the gate and turn left up the road.
2. After about 330ft (100m) go through a gate on the right flanked by stone pillars, sign-posted NT40 to Castlehaven Lane. Keep to the top of the field with the hedge on your left, then cross through a gap in the fence, continuing in the same direction. The path rises gently and goes through a kissing gate on the left after which the path bends right.
3. After roughly 80ft (25m) the path emerges onto a road at a switch-back bend. Take the uphill road and after about 65ft (20m) turn left up a tarmac path with steps and handrail. You will come to a road almost opposite the Buddle Inn. Turn right onto the road for 40m before turning left up a tarmac path, by the phone box. Take the path upwards.
4. Turn right onto another road (watch out for traffic since there is no pavement) and at its end at a Y junction, fork right. Cross the busy A3055 main road to a grassy area and follow the footpath on its right up Barrack Shute towards Niton village. Take the first turn on the left (which looks like a driveway, but is Boxers Lane) and follow the path gently upwards to a kissing gate. Go straight on and follow the grassy coast path along the top of the cliffs.
5. Turn left at the signpost pointing down the steep cliff just before a seat, and descend the steep steps to the road, taking care since these can be slippery. At the road, turn right and follow it back to the car park.
There you have it a fantastic walk for all of the family to enjoy! After that lovely walk you will have deserved rest and something tasty to eat, take a look at our “Eating Out” section on our website to find something tasty. https://www.thewightholidaycompany.co.uk/about-the-island/eating-out/