GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Tennyson Down Walk

4 miles (6.1 km)

A circular walk to Tennyson Down and the Tennyson Mounment on the Isle of Wight Coast. The circular walk also visits The Needles which are just up the coast from the monument. It's a bracing walk with excellent views over the Solent from the cliff tops.
Start the walk from the National Trust car park at Totland Bay with a postcode of PO39 0HY for your sat navs. From here you can pick up a footpath heading south up to the Tennyson Monument. This is dedicated to the famous poet that once lived in nearby Freshwater Bay.He was thePoet Laureateduring much ofQueen Victoria's reign and wrote the famous poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade".
The route then picks up the Tennyson Trail and Isle of Wight Coast Path and heads west past the Highdown Cliffs and West High Down to visit the Needles. There's fine views of the famous sea stacks and the interesting old batteries to enjoy here.
After enjoying the Needles the route then heads east along alternative footpaths to take you back to the car park.


PO39 0HY - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Tennyson Down OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Tennyson Down Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


On the route you can stop off for refreshments at the National Trust tea at the batteries in the Needles park. The tea room is in an attractive vintage style with transporting you back to the 1940s. There's excellent views over the area as the tea-room is located in the Port WarSignal Station that was specifically built to give the clearest, closest views of shipping in the Solent and around the Needles.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

You could pick up the coast path and head east to visit the lovely Freshwater Bay. Here you can join with the waymarked Freshwater Way on the Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay Walk.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Isle of Wight Walks page.


Cattle on Tennyson Down - - 1377824

Cattle on Tennyson Down. This herd appears to be a regular user of the down. There were a lot of youngsters amongst them, but there are so many people walking here that none of the mothers seemed particularly bothered. The view beyond is across Freshwater and The Solent to the Hampshire coast.

The Tennyson Monument, Tennyson Down - - 515913

The Tennyson Monument on Tennyson Down. The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson used to live at nearby Farringford House. This chalk hill was part of the Farringford Estate and Tennyson would walk this hill daily. His son left the downland to the National Trust. In 1897 this Celtic cross was erected to Tennyson's memory. The inscription on the far side reads:
It is situated on the highest point of the downs, nearly 150 metres above sea level.

Freshwater, steps down from Tennyson Down - - 1223461

Freshwater: steps down from Tennyson Down. The path down the side of Tennyson Down has these uneven and fairly steep steps; with the path alongside well worn, it is sometimes easier to bypass the steps and keep to the left.

Wind-sculpted Trees, Tennyson Down, Totland - - 53746

Wind-sculpted Trees. In the foreground is the close-cropped grass on the chalk ridge of Tennyson Down. In the background the trees have collectively formed an aerodynamic profile.

Route off Tennyson Down - - 1377830

Gate and route off the Down. This gate marks the end of the down and the descent towards Freshwater Bay continues across rougher enclosed land. The SOS notice says "Save our Skylarks".

The Needles - - 697031

The Needles. From viewpoint above Scratchell's Bay

Freshwater, Solent view from Tennyson Down - - 1223449

Freshwater: Solent view from Tennyson Down The view across the western corner of the Isle of Wight, with Fort George clearly visible centre right, and a very hazy glimpse of the mainland coast across the Solent.

The race from Tennyson Down - - 1377591

The race from the Down. A view of the 2009 Round the Island yacht race from above the steep chalk cliffs at the site.


GPS Files

GPX File

Tennyson Down.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Tennyson Down.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)