Part of the IW Coastal Path and under the care of the National Trust, Tennyson Down offers an invigorating downland walk with wonderful views of the iconic Needles Rocks (and across to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset on a clear day), a 19th century fort, a cold war rocket testing site and a monument to the Victorian poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
A 4 mile walk taking around 2 hours (a bit longer with a picnic stop) from Freshwater Bay to the Needles (or in reverse) this is a well-used path which will present a few physical challenges but nothing that a reasonably ambulant person cannot manage. There are a small number of gates and stiles to tackle, and plenty of steps in places. There are no public toilet facilities on the walk, but plenty at either end of it.
You could make a day of it and walk back too, after stopping for a bite to eat and some fun at the Needles.
Tennyson Down Coastal Walk is ideal for ages 8+
Here's some of the most frequently-asked questions about school visits to Tennyson Down Coastal Walk, posed by teachers and other group leaders
National Trust recommend obtaining an OS Landranger 196 or OS Explorer OL29 map, however the route is well signed and well used, so most of our schools make do with this simple walking map instead - just follow the green/red dotted line
As well as rain, you also need to consider wind conditions. The walk is very high and exposed especially to southerly and south-westerly winds. Do not attempt the walk in bad weather.
There are no facilities on the actual walk. There are public toilets at The Needles park as well as in Freshwater Bay, so make sure everyone "goes" before starting the walk, which can take 2+ hours.
The walk is along exposed coast at high level. There are plenty of inclines. The paths are generally through grassland so could be muddy in places after periods of poor weather. Sturdy footwear is a must, along with suitable clothing for the predicted weather conditions throughout the walk. A water bottle is recommended.