This is perhaps one of our favourite walks. Not only does it offer fantastic views, but the walk takes you through impressive rock formations and ancient woodland.
- You start the walk from the bench and National Trust plinth just beyond the car park. Turn right for approx 20yds (20m), then bear left along the top of the ridge. Start to descend and pass through trees. Go through the memorial gate by the interpretation panel and go down the steep and grassy Nansen Hill to the gate onto the main road.
- BE CAREFUL HERE You most cross the road and follow path V65 towards the back right of the car park. When you reach a wall you must turn right. Do not start to drop down, butt keep to the right of the wall and bearing left at a fork. The path then crosses the lower end of the Smugglers Haven tea-rooms, (great place to stop for a cream tea) then returns to the wall. Follow the wall past a stone shelter, then take the steep steps downwards through the Devils Chimney, a narrow cleft in the cliff. Bear right and continue down two more flights of steps to the remains of a seat. Bear left and up four steps then down many more to reach the coastal path. Handrails are provided where the steps are steepest.
- When you get to the bottom, bear left and follow the twisty path through The Landslip, following the coastal path signs. Soon after the kissing gate you reach Rosecliff Lodge. Carry straight on the track, ignoring all left turns, and follow the coastal path past a few houses in Luccombe, eventually reaching a tarmac road after passing more houses and going through a garden and a gate.
- Turn right and cross a stile 65yds (60m) after the big house to visit the Haddon’s Pits interpretation panel. Follow a winding path parallel to the road through this open area, rejoining the road at the stile at the top left corner. Turn right and follow the road downwards towards Shanklin. Turn left into Priory Road opposite a large white block of modern apartments.
- After 165yds take footpath SS91 on the left into Vaughan Way. Follow the road into the estate, and after a left hand bend follow the grassy track to its end at the main road. Cross the main road with care and pass through the lych gate of St Blasius church signposted SS10. It’s worth stopping here as the church is very picturesque, beside a small and busy duck pond. Take the tarmac path to the left of the church and cross over the boundary wall. Continue over two fields and three memorial gates to reach some trees. Climbing all the time, more steeply and with some steps past Holme Copse, cross a stile by a gate, and finally another stile leading into a meadow.
- Turn left onto the crossing track, and pass through two gates to reach the Luccombe Down interpretation panel . Follow the wide ridge-top track. When the main track starts to bend right towards the radar station, take the smaller left track to return to the car park.