If you are looking to explore the countryside, the Isle of Wight is renowned for its collection of footpaths, coastal paths and more that cover all parts of the island.
Whilst the coastal path rightly gets most of the attention, another gem in Shanklin is the Red Squirrel Trail from Shanklin to Wroxall. The trail is actually a 32 mile route around much of the island, perfect for cyclists, walkers and more. The Shanklin to Wroxall section goes off to Newport and beyond as well as being part of a loop that goes on to Godshill, Sandown, Lake and back to Shanklin.
The Shanklin to Wroxall route starts at Lower Hyde opposite Shanklin train station, which is part of the history of the route. It is formed on the former railway track that previously went from Shanklin to Wroxall and beyond to Ventnor, which means that you get a lovely flat route that is perfect for all. As you wander along the route, you can see the remains of the rail past with plenty of bridges to go under and then views across Shanklin and the downs.
As you go along, you can see fields galore, a couple of farms with horses and cows on view and even a horse or two going along the track itself. There is a footpath off to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary and once you reach Wroxall, you can make your way to the historic Appuldurcombe House, where the route continues on.
If you are looking for a family friendly cycle route or a walk through some of the island’s best views, you’d be hard pushed to find better.
For more information and cycle hire information, visit redsquirreltrail.org.uk.
If you are looking for a day out where you can step back into time and live like a lord or lady of the manor, then look no further than Appuldurcombe House.
The house was originally one of the grandest on the island and home to Worsley family. An example of baroque architecture, the current house was dates back to 1702 and a house has been on the site since 1100, when it was originally a priory and later a convent. Over the years, the house has been extended and in later life, it became a hotel, an academy for young gentlemen and home for the monks that would later move to Quarr Abbey.
However, its most significant time was during the Second World War, when the house was taken over by the military. In 1943, the beginning of the end for the house took place when a bomb hit close by and a large hole appeared in the roof. With the hole unrepaired, the house gradually deteriorated and much of the house was sold off, leaving the shell that can be seen today.
Now, the house is open to the public to wander around the remainder of the house and see its grand proportions and imagine what it would have been like in its heyday. You can also explore the grounds, see the farm animals that graze on the land and see what remains of the garden designed by the famous Capability Brown. A small section of the house has been reroofed, which is available for weddings.
Entry is free – so why not pop in and then travel along the road to its free neighbour, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary.