Route for an Isle of Wight walk near Godshill

Freemantle Gate - the 18th century entrance to Appuldurcombe estate

Freemantle Gate - the 18th century entrance to Appuldurcombe estate - Credit: Fiona Barltrop

Discover magnificent Appuldurcombe House and enjoy views from the downs above on this rewarding walk from Godshill

Situated in the south-east of the Isle of Wight between Newport and Ventnor, the charming village of Godshill is not only well worth a visit in its own right, but the lovely countryside on its doorstep makes it an ideal base for a walk. However, given the village's well-deserved popularity, it is best avoided in high season. Godshill Church, which stands on a hill above a cluster of thatched cottages, is famous for its unique mural on the east wall of the south transept. Known as the Lily Cross, it depicts Christ crucified on a flowering lily. As well as tea rooms and shops selling local produce, Godshill also has its model village - a popular attraction, especially for those with children.

This walk explores the countryside to the south-east of the village, taking you past Appuldurcombe House, once the grandest house on the island, standing in grounds designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. It is now in the care of English Heritage and is free to enter. Even when closed, you can still get a good view of the impressive east front of the house - a masterpiece of baroque architecture - from the footpath that runs alongside the perimeter railings. Appuldurcombe began as a priory and later became the home of the Worsleys, who were responsible for the 18th century building which exists today. Damaged in World War II, it has been partially restored - its shell-like state is obvious from the west side.

The walk continues past Appuldurcombe and then climbs up onto Stenbury Down, heading northwards over Appuldurcombe Down to the Worsley Obelisk on the hilltop above the house. Built of Cornish granite, it was dedicated by Sir Richard Worsley in 1774 to his ancestor Sir Robert. Located on the highest point of the Worsley property, it is a fine viewpoint indeed. The final leg of the walk follows a section of the Worsley Trail back to Godshill.


- Start/finish: Godshill car park (free), opposite Griffin inn (SZ530817)

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- Map: OS Explorer OL29

- Distance: 5½ miles (9km)

- Terrain: Field, woodland and downland paths; one significant climb

- Time: Three hours. Allow extra time for looking round Appuldurcombe House (if open)

- Refreshments: Choice of pubs and cafés/tea rooms in Godshill

- Public transport: Wightlink car ferries between Portsmouth and Fishbourne and Lymington and Yarmouth; passenger catamaran from Portsmouth to Ryde,

0333 999 7333, Bus services nos 2 and 3 from Newport to Ryde via Godshill

- Accommodation: Chilton Farm (self-catering and B&B) Peaceful location near coast and a 20-25 minute drive from Godshill

The walk

1 (SZ530817) Exit the car park, cross the road and continue along Hollow Lane, Griffin inn on the left. Very soon take the footpath (signed for Beech Copse) to the left of the entrance to Godshill Cherry Orchard, passing alongside the pub garden. Continue beside a field and into woodland. At a kissing gate, where the path forks, bear left uphill to join a bridleway, bearing left. The bridleway turns left to a metal gate and continues along the edge of the field initially, soon veering right to join a track that leads to a T-junction and the Stenbury Trail.

2 (SZ536812) Turn right and follow the track up to Freemantle Gate - a handsome neoclassical archway built around 1770 to serve as the main entrance to the Appuldurcombe estate. Just before it there is a path intersection (junction with the Worsley Trail). Freemantle Lodge, which can be seen from the other side of the gate, was originally the gatehouse for the estate and now provides holiday accommodation.

3 (SZ540807) Continue on the track ignoring the bridleway that forks left along the grass. Keep ahead on joining the surfaced access road which leads to the entrance to Appuldurcombe House. If it is open, do spend some time having a look round inside.

4 (SZ542801) In front of the entrance go left, then cross a stile and continue along the footpath initially beside a wall then railings enclosing the house's grounds. Keep ahead along the footpath to Span Lodge, maintaining direction along the lane for 100m to a byway turning on the right.

5 (SZ545792) Turn right and head up the byway/road which climbs to the top of the Downs (the footpath that turns off right up steps is a shortcut but steeper, so easier to keep to the road).

6 (SZ538789) Turn right along the bridleway signed for Appuldurcombe Down. Pass the radio station and at the junction bear right along a footpath beside a fence on the left. The path bends left and becomes enclosed by fencing on either side. At the next junction go over the stile on the right and follow the footpath along the top of the open grassy downland to the obelisk which can be seen ahead. From here the chalk cliffs of Culver Down are visible in the distance to the north-east.

7 (SZ536802) Bear to the right heading north-east then north down the grassy slopes picking up a more defined path that leads down to a wall and T-junction.

8 (SZ537805) Cross the stile and turn left, now on the Worsley Trail. Cross a track and at the four-way signposted path junction continue on the footpath signed for Sainham heading north-northwest. Bear left at the next junction along the bridleway signed for Sheepwash Lane. Turn right along the lane back towards Godshill, bearing right at the next road junction and keeping ahead/left when the road forks. At the next junction either turn right down Church Hollow to the main road, turning right back to the car park, or to visit the church head uphill past the thatched cottages. Leave the church by following the paved path away from the porch. Descend steps and continue downhill back to the village.


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