Walking the Bay

Guest writer Mark Fox continues with his series looking at different places of interest on the Island. This issue he looks at the walk around the Bay area.

The walk around the great Bay area of the East Wight is one of the most beautiful and interesting on the whole of the Island. Taking in as it does the seaside towns of Shanklin and Sandown it affords on a fine day panoramic views from Bembridge in the north down to Bonchurch and Ventnor in the south. This though is one of those walks that is great to do whatever the weather.

On a fine day you can pause and take a dip in the sea from any spot on the miles of golden sand that opens up in front of you. On a stormy day, well wrapped up, you can walk with the glorious sound of the sea thundering on to the shore beside you. It is a walk suitable for people of all ages, for people with prams and young families, mobility scooters, cyclists, rollerskaters, everyone.

At Yaverland there is a large public car park and, increasingly rarely on the Island, open public loos. There is a small café where you can start with a coffee to get you going. Then you are off, passing the zoo and the crazy golf, which is always a family favourite.  Heading on up to Sandown. Along the seafront, passing the impressive sea facing war memorial to those of the town who fell in the two World Wars – it is worth pausing and having a look. With its shops and pier the temptation is to dilly-dally and become distracted. If you have the timing right a pause for lunch at The Beach Shack is well worth it. It’s a friendly family run beach side café serving excellent food.

Putting the distractions of the town and gastronomic temptations behind you the walk changes. The cliffs rising up on your right hand side replace the town. A long row of different coloured beach huts snuggle into the base of the cliff. Representing the styles of different eras their enduring purpose remains the same. Some are simple and functional, others have been extended and transformed into small seaside palaces. They provide an always fascinating spectacle as you walk past.

The energy of the sailing school is the next thing that you come up on. It’s great to see the enthusiasm and energy of the experienced sailors and the new first-timers alike.

Pressing on still further the walk quietens down a little as you reach the mid-way, most remote, point between the two towns. Then a final stretch and you arrive in Shanklin. Looking back the view of the route you have just taken can be breathtaking.

The energetic can continue on to Bonchurch, Ventnor and St Lawrence. Most will pause, take stock and make the return journey to the Yaverland car park. There is so much to see and do if you want to walk this, this stretch of our coastline is a fascinating and ever-changing panorama.