Ventnor Downs: pre-history to Cold War walk – 2.6 miles
- The car park right at the end of Down Lane has a plaque commemorating the Channel Airways Dakota that crashed in fog in 1962. Turn right out of the car park and follow the road to the entrance gates for the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which was the location of RAF Ventnor. Notice a number of Second World War brick structures to your left.
- Continue along the road by the NATS fence for 10yds, and then turn off close to a water trough on the left. Turn right and follow the grassy path parallel to the road. When the path divides you must take the left fork. After 65yds take the faint path through the bracken on the right which heads past a solitary tree and crosses a track before passing through gorse-covered Bronze Age burial mounds. Continue on this path, which bears right to reach the highest car park on the Isle of Wight.
- Go straight across the car park and look for a signpost after 90yds (85m). Turn 90° right to reach a kissing gate after a further 80yds (75m) by the corner of the NATS fence. Go through the gate.
- From here continue for approx 40yds downhill and go through another kissing gate where there is a viewpoint bench. Carry on downhill for about 190yds (175m) and follow the path to the right which zig-zags down into the bottom of the coombe. As you reach the bottom you will see the brick stacks and remains of the rifle range and pistol butts.
- Proceed down into and along the coombe and keep to the right. About 110yds (100m) before the trees at the far end the path divides, and here take the path to the right and shortly left as it keeps very close to a wire fence on the left.
- To the right you will see the remains of the ammunition store which looks like a cave. Continue along this path next to the wire fence and proceed through the kissing gate and down steps to the road. BE CAREFUL and then pass through a gate and turn left and left again into the Industrial Estate.
- About 30yds (30m) on the left there is a blue plaque outside the Coastguard Rescue Station marking the site of Ventnor railway station. The steam trains used to run through from Ryde, reaching Ventnor via a long tunnel. With your back to the plaque you will be looking at the Terminus Hotel on the corner to the right. In front is Ventnor Gas and Water Company building of 1883. Just behind the Terminus Hotel, building there is a steep flight of stone steps on path V1. Take this up to a kissing gate at the base of the hill, and then continue up the steep slope of St. Boniface Down, eventually through another kissing gate, until you reach the mast. Turn left and follow the path to the immediate left of the wire fence to return to the car park by the Dakota plaque.