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Hiking trail

Cowes to Shalfleet

Hiking trail
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  • Royal Yacht Club Cowes.
    / Royal Yacht Club Cowes.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Coastal Path sign.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Egypt Esplanade Cowes.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Gurnard.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Gurnard Bay.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Thorness Bay.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Shalfleet Creek.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 40 20 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km

This walk follows the sea front westwards out of Cowes to Gurnard Bay. Then along the coast path proper, down to Thorness Bay with excellent views of the Solent and across to Hampshire. From here the route takes you inland, across farmland to the small hamlet of Newtown then on to Shalfleet.


Distance 14.1 km
3:30 h
124 m
111 m

Leaving Cowes along the sea front, the walk passes Egypt Point, the most northerly point on the island. The Solent and Hampshire coast are in full view as the route continues westwards towards Gurnard and Thorness Bay. From here the path strikes inland to the small village of Porchfield then on to Newtown, with its wetland nature reserve. Passing the Old Town Hall the route continues on to finish at Shalfleet.


Author’s recommendation

There are splendid views across the Solent to be had on the first part of this walk. The small hamlet of Newtown and the National Trust Old Town Hall belies its former importance and the surrounding wetlands are a magnet for bird watchers.

The coastal path is well signposted so look out for the prominent way markers and your route finding will be easier.


Highest point
46 m
Lowest point
2 m
Best time of year

Safety information

This section is a gentle walk with few hazards. However, some sections follow roads which can be busy at times, especially in peak season, so care is needed. Along the coastal section the cliffs are soft liable to erosion so take care in wet weather.


Tips and hints

Cowes is a small town with a full range of facilities. There are several hotels, pubs restaurants and cafes as well as local shops and a supermarket to stock up with supplies. There is a bank, cash point facility and a pharmacy. There is a café at Gurnard, a shop at the holiday village in Thorness Bay and a pub at Porchfield, all on the route, but opening times vary. Shalfleet has little in the way of provisions so you may wish to stock up for the following day as well.

Points of Interest

Cowes Maritime Museum

Cowes is regarded as the yachting capital of Britain. This small museum houses a collection of exhibits that incorporate all aspects of local maritime activity from ship building to sailing. The museum displays objects and images which tell the story of Cowes and its important maritime heritage.


Newtown Nature Reserve

This is the only National Nature Reserve on the island. It has estuary creeks that attract all manner of wetland wildlife and ancient woodlands, home to the red squirrel. There is also the 17 th century Old Town Hall, the only remaining evidence of Newtown’s former importance as a flourishing port. newtown-national-nature-reserve



The village of Shalfleet was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 and three of the manor houses listed are still in existence. In 2009 metal detectorists discovered an Iron Age Hoard which proved the area was occupied by a Celtic tribe, the Durotriges during the later part of this period..



Royal London Yacht Club Mast, The Parade, Cowes. (0 m)
OS Grid
SZ 49479 96501
50.765999, -1.299767
50°45'57.6"N 1°17'59.2"W
30U 619900 5625181


St Michael’s Church, Shalfleet.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - Standing with your back to the white mast (with the plaque to Winston Churchill) outside the Royal London Yacht club, and facing the sea, TURN LEFT along the sea front. Continue STRAIGHT ON for 1 km passing another white mast commemorating the Americas Cup with the sea to your right.

1.10 km - At the Egypt Point statue and beacon (the most northerly point on the island), continue STRAIGHT ON.

2.00 km - As the road turns off to the left continue STRAIGHT ON along the front by the sea, following the sign for the coastal path.

2.20 km - Just past a row of beach huts BEAR LEFT up the tarmac road passing the sailing club on the right. At the next junction BEAR RIGHT up the path Winding Way, following the sign for the coastal path.

2.40 km - Reaching the road TURN RIGHT onto Worsley Road for a short distance.

2.50 km - At the junction TURN RIGHT onto Solent View Road, again following the sign for the coastal path. Continue STRAIGHT ON descending to a small harbour and over a bridge. 

3.30 km - Just over the bridge TURN RIGHT through a gate onto the signed coastal path. Continue STRAIGHT ON for 2 kms with the sea to your right and splendid views over the Solent.

5.30 km - On reaching the shore, cross the stile and continue STRAIGHT ON across several fields.

5.50 km - At a small lane, cross the stile and small stream, then BEAR LEFT along the grassy path with the sea to the right. Continue STRAIGHT ON along the beach and over a footbridge to the car park.

6.10 km - At the car park, BEAR LEFT along the gravel road up through the Holiday Village, following the coastal path signs.

6.70 km - Just before a small stream and road speed hump, TURN RIGHT up the signposted coastal path. Then BEAR LEFT over a small footbridge, still following the signs for the coastal path.

7.10 km - At the road TURN LEFT and after 100 metres TURN RIGHT over a stile, and BEAR LEFT around the field, keeping the hedge to your left.

7.40 km - Cross the stiles and continue STRAIGHT ON over several fields keeping the hedge to the left.

8.00 km - At the stile TURN RIGHT onto the main road and continue STRAIGHT ON into the small village of Porchfield.

8.80 km - At the cross roads and village hall, continue STRAIGHT ON along the road, around the sharp bends and past the army ranges on the right.

10.6 km - At the crossroads BEAR RIGHT along the road signposted to Newtown and continue STRAIGHT ON.

11.3 km- At the prominent coastal footpath sign TURN LEFT off the road, through the gate and into Newtown Meadows. Continue STRAIGHT ON across several fields.

12.0 km – Arriving at the small hamlet of Newtown TURN LEFT onto the tarmac road and continue STRAIGHT ON past the Old Town Hall and over a bridge.

12.6 km – At the junction, TURN RIGHT onto the main road signposted coastal path and also to Shalfleet. Continue STRAIGHT ON for almost a kilometre.

13.4 km - Just past a house, BEAR RIGHT off the road onto a track signed coastal path and continue STRAIGHT ON. Then BEAR RIGHT through the woods and over the footbridge to Shalfleet Mill.

13.8 km – Just past the mill BEAR LEFT onto Mill Road and continue STRAIGHT ON to the end.

14.0 km – At the junction with the main road, TURN RIGHT up the road towards the church.

14.1 km – Arriving at St Michael’s Church you have reached the end of your walk.            







all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SZ 49479 96501
50.765999, -1.299767
50°45'57.6"N 1°17'59.2"W
30U 619900 5625181
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy boots or walking shoes are recommended as there are several road sections and the footpaths are rough and muddy in places. The weather is changeable on the coast so waterproofs should be carried just in case.


Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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14.1 km
3:30 h
124 m
111 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Linear route


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