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Hiking trail

Ryde to Cowes

Hiking trail
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  • Holy Cross Church Binstead.
    / Holy Cross Church Binstead.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Remains of old Quarr Abbey.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Quarr Abbey.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Wooton Bridge.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Cowes Chain Ferry.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Cowes High Street.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 60 40 20 -20 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
A nice easy walk from Ryde to Cowes, passing through Wootton Bridge and around Osborne House before crossing the River Medina. Arriving in Cowes it is a pleasant stroll along the pedestrianised High Street arriving at the esplanade with good views of the Solent.
Distance 13.7 km
3:30 h
138 m
180 m
Leaving Ryde with good views across the Solent, the route takes you past Quarr Abbey and down to Wootton Bridge. From here the path goes inland and around Osborne House, the former residence of Queen Victoria before continuing through East Cowes and down to the River Medina. Crossing the river on the Chain Ferry or Floating Bridge as it is sometimes called, you wander through the pleasant shopping streets of Cowes, finishing on the Esplanade overlooking the Solent.

Author’s recommendation

Starting from the end of Britain’s second longest pier, today’s walk takes you past Quarr Abbey and Osborne House, both worth a visit if you have time. Although not spectacular, the views across the Solent towards the Hampshire coast are iconic in terms of British maritime heritage.
Highest point
61 m
Lowest point
0 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. In particular, leaving Ryde, at the Fishbourne Ferry Terminal, crossing the road at Wooton Bridge and the main road past Osbourne House into East Cowes. The path by Quarr Abbey is also a shared cycle way so be aware of cyclists.


Tips and hints

Ryde is the largest town on the island with a full range of facilities. There are several hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes as well as local shops and supermarkets to stock up with supplies. There are banks, cash point facilities and a pharmacy. There are opportunities for refreshments at Quarr Abbey gardens and Wooton Bridge on the route.

Points of Interest


Developed in the late 18 th century, Ryde is the largest town on the island. There are good views from the promenade across Spithead, location of the famous review and to three of the Solent’s Victorian forts. For many convicts transported to Australia this was their last glimpse of the “old country”. St Thomas’ church is home to the British Australian Heritage Centre and houses an exhibition of convict memorabilia. It also has the second longest pier in Britain after Southend.

Quarr Abbey

Right on the path, this modern foundation of Benedictine Monks (1907-14) is built near the ruins of the earlier Cistercian Abbey 1132. There is a Visitor Centre designed to give an insight into the monastic way of life. There are walled gardens and a popular teashop.

 Osborne House

Designed by Prince Albert and Thomas Cubitt in the style of an Italian Villa, Queen Victoria died here in 1901. The state and private rooms are furnished as in Victoria’s time and in the gardens is the Swiss Cottage, the royal children’s playhouse.





Tourist Information Office, Ryde. (37 m)
OS Grid
SZ 59382 92911
50.732793, -1.159939
50°43'58.1"N 1°09'35.8"W
30U 629852 5621725


Royal London Yacht Club, end of the Esplanade, Cowes.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - Standing with your back to the Tourist Information Office TURN RIGHT, past the red post box crossing the pier road onto Thomas Street. Continue STRAIGHT ON following the coastal path sign.

0.34 km - Just past a small car park on the left, TURN RIGHT into Buckingham Road following the coast path sign slightly uphill.

0.50 km - At the road junction TURN RIGHT onto Spencer Road, again following the coast path signs and continue STRAIGHT ON along the road and onto a gravel track.

1.30 km - At the end of the track, go through the gate and TURN RIGHT onto the tarmac path with the golf club on your left. Continue STRAIGHT ON, descending slightly to a small stream and up the other side.

2.20 km - At the church BEAR LEFT then  immediately BEAR RIGHT into Church Road. At the white sign post for Quarr Abbey TURN RIGHT up the tarmac track.

2.40 km - At the gateway BEAR LEFT onto the gravel footpath marked cycle way 22, and continue STRAIGHT ON.

2:70 km - At the end of the track TURN RIGHT onto the tarmac road and continue STRAIGHT ON passing the remains of the old abbey on the right.

3:50 km - Cross over the road into Quarr Abbey and continue STRAIGHT ON along the path, still signed cycle way 22.

4:20 km - At the end of the track TURN LEFT onto the road, passing Fishbourne Ferry Terminal on the right.

4.60 km - Just before the old phone box TURN RIGHT onto the path signposted to Wootton Bridge 1 mile. In 100 metres TURN LEFT onto a tarmac lane with glimpses of Wooten Creek through the trees on the right.

4.90 km - As the road bends to the left, continue STRAIGHT ON following the coast path signs.

5.20 km - On reaching  the main road TURN RIGHT and cross over onto the pavement. Continue STRAIGHT ON to Wootton Bridge and across the river.

5.80 km - At the bus shelter cross the road and BEAR LEFT up Mill Square. At the top of the street TURN RIGHT onto the road, then in 100 metres TURN LEFT onto a coast path signed track with a school to the left. Continue STRAIGHT ON along the tarmac path between the houses.

6.40 km – Emerging at some garages TURN LEFT onto a tarmac road following the coast path sign. On the bend, BEAR LEFT through some more garages onto a narrow path. Cross the road and continue STRAIGHT ON along the road opposite, Footways.

6.90 km – At the junction TURN LEFT then almost immediately TURN RIGHT onto Brocks Copse Road. Continue STRAIGHT ON for almost 2.5kms.

9.30 km – At the junction with the main road TURN RIGHT onto Whippingham Road and continue STRAIGHT ON for 1km.

10.3 km – At the roundabout BEAR RIGHT onto York Road and continue STRAIGHT ON for 2 kms, passing Osborne House on the right and into East Cowes and down to the River Medina.

(If you are overnighting in Annie's B&B, don't take the Chain Bridge Ferry across to Cowes as the B&B is located in East Cowes. Turn right onto Castle Street and continue on.  Contine STRAIGHT ON at the roundabout as the roads turns into Maresfield Road. When you reach the end of the street TURN RIGHT on Cambridge Road. Keep following Cambridge Road until you reach Annie's B&B, located at house number 49 on your left-hand side.) 

12.4 km - Arriving at the river, take the Chain Bridge Ferry across to Cowes. There is a charge for the journey. Continue STRAIGHT ON up Medina Road on the other side.

(If you are overnighting in Endeavour House B&B, take the Chain Bridge Ferry across and continue on Medina Road as the road bends to the left and turns into Mill Hill Road. On the corner you will see the Duke of York Pub. Follow this road uphill and you'll find Endeavour House B&B at house number 47 on the right handside.)  

12.9 km – On the bend TURN RIGHT onto Birmingham Road following the coast path sign, then BEAR RIGHT down the pedestrianised Shooter Hill. Continue STRAIGHT ON along the High Street and onto Bath Road.

(If you are overnighting in the One Fifty B&B TURN LEFT  just after passing the Pier View onto Terminus Road and follow this uphill as it becomes Park Road. You'll find the B&B at house number 150.)

13.6 km – At the junction with the Esplanade, BEAR LEFT past the Royal London Yacht Club.

13.7 km – Arriving at the end of the Esplanade you have reached the end of your walk.





all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SZ 59382 92911
50.732793, -1.159939
50°43'58.1"N 1°09'35.8"W
30U 629852 5621725
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy boots or walking shoes are recommended as there is a lot of road and surfaced track walking on this section. 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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13.7 km
3:30 h
138 m
180 m
Refreshment stops available Scenic Cultural/historical interest Linear route


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