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Walk your way to love on the Isle of Wight

21st April 2010 Print
Walking on the Isle of Wight

Walking - its free, sociable, requires no special equipment, training or gym membership, and is proven to boost the immune system, improve mood, help manage weight and benefit the heart, lungs and blood pressure.

It is also an easy activity to fit into everyday life, and on the famous Speed Dating Walk at the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, may even lead to meeting a future partner!

This May the Isle of Wight Walking Festival – sponsored by cross-Solent ferry operator Wightlink ( – will celebrate its 12th birthday by becoming bigger and better than ever, offering over 300 walks covering beaches, cliff paths, woodland, manor houses and even a monastery. Voted the ‘Best Walking Festival’ by readers of BBC Countryfile magazine, the festival is the largest event of its kind in the UK and prides itself on offering challenging walks for die-hard ramblers as well as a range of leisurely walks suitable for all ages and abilities.

Over 5,000 people made the journey across the Solent from the mainland for the 2009 festival, and this is expected to be exceeded at this year’s two-week event, taking place from 8th–23rd May. Event sponsor Wightlink is responding with a range of special offer ferry tickets for either day trips or short stays – starting from £5.85 per person for foot passengers.

From the epic 72 mile Round the Island Walk, to a Forest Safari looking at woodland habitats and Ventnor Wild Food Coastal Walk learning about edible plants – there is something for everyone. Quirky Ghost Walks, Family Treasure Hunts and a Tai Chi Walk are also in the programme, along with a walk around Quarr Abbey & Grounds and Wellow Wine, a circular walk and tour of Rossiters Vineyard. For a walk with a difference, take part in Walk on Water, a charity walk on a treadmill aboard a Wightlink ferry to raise money for the Air Ambulance.

Animal-lovers can take a guided tour of the Isle of Wight Zoo’s Big Cat collection on the Tiger Trail, while history-enthusiasts can celebrate not one, but two historic legends by joining in Charles Darwin’s Origin Walk and the Tennyson Down circular walk from Freshwater Bay. And singletons can ‘hunt down’ their ideal partner at the famous Speed Dating Walk, which has instigated three weddings to date!

As part of the festivities, actor, author and adventurer, Brian Blessed will take to the stage at Medina Theatre on 21st May, to share his inspiring – and hilarious – stories of ascending Mount Everest.

In a day...
Walkers travelling from the mainland can take advantage of a range of special Wightlink offers, which are valid throughout the Walking Festival. Day return tickets for a car and up to four passengers are available from £34, and Wightlink is repeating its popular 2-for-1 foot passenger day return offer, which means that two people can travel from only £11.70 – or £5.85 each. Visit for details.

Staying over...
Alternatively, stay at the Isle of Wight’s famous Garlic Farm in one of six cottages created from traditional outbuildings around Mersley Farm. Located in Newchurch, in the Island’s rural heartland, Mill Cottage is ideal for a family of friends sharing, with three bedrooms, sitting room and fully-equipped kitchen. Departing on 7th May, a one-week Wightlink Green Getaway ( at Mill Cottage, Mersley Farm costs £153 per person (based on four sharing) including and return Wightlink car ferry crossings from either Portsmouth or Lymington.


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Walking on the Isle of Wight