Cycling on the Isle of Wight

There are over 200 miles of cycle routes through the countryside or along the coast.

Don't want to bring your own bike?  There are plenty of places that offer bike hire with free delivery to Cowes.

Cycling from Firefly House

If you are bringing or renting cycles at Firefly House, please let us know so that we can discuss cycle storage for you.  In the gated garden at the rear of Firefly House (accessed by a passage) there is an external hose for hosing down bikes and footgear, and electric sockets for charging electrical cycles.   

Cycle hire


If you want to hire bikes on the Island, see our cycle hire page

Route maps

Below are some ideas for island cycle routes.  At Firefly House, we have a file full of printouts of these routes that you can select, together with several cycling guides/maps, an ordnance survey map and a compass that you can borrow.  

If you want to search for a route in a particular area, please do a search (cmd and 'f' on mac) (ctrl and 'f' on pc).  

For various routes see:

Visit IOW cycling page

Red Funnel's guide to cycling and mountain biking

Wight Cycle Hire routes

Isle Cycle routes (same routes as those on RF)

Wightlink Cycle routes

National Trust Downloadable cycling trails on the Isle of Wight cycle hire shop in Shanklin has several routes

Slideshow photos above credit to

All other photos credit to Firefly House 

Cycle routes around the Isle of Wight

Photographs and more routes coming soon . . . 

Round the Island Cycle Route

Cowes - Newtown - Yarmouth - Freshwater - Brook - Mottistone - Brightstone - Yafford - Chale - Niton - Whitwell - St Lawrence - Wroxall - Alverstone - Bembridge - St Helens - Nettlestone - Wootton - Whippingham - East Cowes - Cowes

A 62 mile Round the Island Cycle Route.

Red Squirrel Trail

Cowes - Newport - Blackwater - Merstone - Arreton - Sandown - Lake - Shanklin - Wroxall - Godshill - Merstone

The Red Squirrel Trail, 32 miles of mostly traffic-free cycling through the heart of the IOW's beautiful countryside. The trail takes in estuaries, woodland, farmland, download, and a stretch of the Island’s fantastic coastline.

The trail makes an ideal two or three day cycling tour taking time to take in the wildlife along the way and visit some of the many attractions, cafes and restaurants along and nearby the trail.

Alternatively you can easily cycle a shorter section of it for a great day or half-day out.

PDFs of all maps

Cowes (3)

Newport - Cowes - East Cowes - Newport

Route 3 - Cowes

Easy fairly level ride after the hill out of East Cowes. Osborne House and St Mildred's Church are near the route. Nice views of the Medina River and surrounding countryside as you leave East Cowes. The Medina cycleway on the western side of the river is well surfaced and has some good picnic spots, and red squirrels are often to be seen.

15 km / 9 miles

Cowes (4)

Newport - Newtown - Porchfield - Gurnard - Cowes - Newport

Route 4 - Cowes

The off road, level, surfaced Medina cycleway between Cowes and Newport is ideal for a short there-and-back ride. The A3054 from St. Mary's Hospital is busy, but you are soon on quieter roads. Cycling is permitted on the gravel tracks in Parkhurst Forest, making an attractive variation of the route.Turn right with care into Main Entrance off the A3054, and take the gravel track on the left after the car park. Please note that there are no signs in the forest!

Alternatively follow the A3020 towards Cowes, then turn left into Noke Common.

28 km / 16 miles

Cowes to Newport

Cowes - Newport

This is a lovely cycle track taking you along the side of the Medina Estuary from Cowes to Newport.

Distance: 5.0km (3.1mi)

Time:   15 – 22 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: wide smooth cycle track

Newport (9)

Newport - Shide - Blackwater - Merstone - Rookley - Whitecroft - Newport

Route 9 - Newport

The first part of this ride is along the Sandown cycleway- go there and back to Merstone for an easy ride. After the Chequers Inn, either choose the bridleway opposite the pub - a short stretch by the river may be muddy, but it takes you to some delightful lanes near Chillerton, or take the road option. Return to Newport either by Marvel Lane or by rejoining the Sandown Cycleway

16 km /10 miles

Carisbrooke (10)

Carisbrooke - Chillerton - Billingham - Shorwell - Bowcombe - Carisbrooke

Route 10 - Carisbrooke

A fairly easy ride on country lanes through the rural heart of the Island. Points of interest include the 13th century church at Gatcombe, and the 12th century church with mural of St Christopher, opposite the pub in Shorwell. Carisbrooke Castle is near the route and is well worth a visit. Look out for Clatterford Shute just within Carisbrooke, for a quiet and scenic return to the start.

19 km / 12 miles

Newport to Shide

Newport - Shide

Distance: 2.4km (1.5mi)

Time:   8 – 10 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: quiet streets and cycle path across Newport. Well-surfaced route through Pan Mill Meadows. The path is a bit narrow in places, and popular with dog walkers so you may have to be patient at times. There are a couple of points where you are requested to dismount and walk .

Shide to Blackwater

Shide - Blackwater

Distance: 1.9km (1.2mi)

Time: 6 – 8 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Off-road cycle path. Gravelly and can get muddy in places but suitable for most bikes and conditions.

Blackwater to Merstone

Blackwater - Merstone

Distance: 2.9km (1.8mi)

Time: 9 – 12 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Off-road cycle path, suitable for most bike types.

Merstone to Horringford

Merstone - Horringford

Distance: 2.7km (1.7mi)

Time: 8 – 11 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Off road. Mostly well-surfaced. Duckboard section can get a bit slippy in wet weather.

Horringford to Langbridge

Horringford - Langbridge

Distance: 1.6km (1.0mi)

Time:   5 – 7 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Well-surfaced, though look out for root damage on the track.

Langbridge to Alverstone

Langbridge - Alverstone

Distance: 1.9km (1.2mi)

Time: 7 – 9 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Well-surfaced, though look out for root damage on the track.

Alverstone to Sandown

Alverstone - Sandown

Distance: 2.6km (1.6mi)

Time: 8 – 10 minutes

Elevation: mostly flat

Terrain: Mostly off road along a well-surfaced track. Final section on road along Perowne Way.

Across Sandown


Station to Pier

Distance: 0.8km (0.5mi)  from station to pier

Time: 4 minutes

Elevation: up 9m (30ft) down 19m (62ft)

Pier to Station

Distance: 1.6km (1.0mi) from pier to station

Time: 8 – 12 minutes

Elevation: up 21m (69ft) down 11m (36ft)

Terrain: All on-road. Busy through the centre of Sandown.

Sandown (11)

Sandown - Adgestone - Brading - Sandown

Route 11 - Sandown

A short, fairly easy ride starting at Dinosaur Isle, along the seafront and then inland to Brading (and the East Yar Valley) with plenty of places to visit and stop for refreshment en route. The road may be busy as far as Brading.The route then takes you through the wetlands of the East Yar, rich in bird and plant life.

8 km / 5 miles

Sandown to Shanklin

Sandown - Shanklin

Distance: 3.2km (2.0mi)

Time: 14 – 22 minutes (from Sandown), 11 – 16 minutes (from Shanklin)

Elevation: 28m (92ft) ascent from Shanklin beach to station

Terrain: Well-surfaced route along the sea front then roads to Shanklin Station.

Shanklin (12)

Wroxall - Shanklin - Bonchurch - Ventnor - St Lawrence - Niton - Wroxall

Route 12 - Shanklin

There are two big hills on this route, but they are well worth it for the interest and variety on the ride.

Starting in the OldVillage, Shanklin, head towards Ventnor, keeping an eye out for the Bonchurch turning as you descend into the town.A detour to Ventnor's Victorian seafront is worthwhile, as is the longer ride to Niton.  The Undercliff road is presently (2002) closed to motor vehicles, but open for cyclists - check locally.

The return journey is via the former railway line fromWroxall, a nice, presently rough, track scheduled for development. Find the start from the map.

Back in Shanklin, turn right for the town centre.

19 km / 12 miles

Shanklin to Wroxall

Shanklin - Wroxall

Distance: 4.8km (3.0mi)

Time: 16 – 22 minutes

Elevation: up 48m (157ft) down 3m (10ft) in Shanklin to Wroxall direction

Terrain: On road for a short distance at either end, with the majority of the route along a well-surfaced old railway line.

Wroxall to Godshill

Wroxall - Godshill

Distance: 2.7km (1.7mi)

Time: 16 – 22 minutes

Elevation: up 23m (75ft) down 68m (223ft) in Wroxall to Godshill direction

Terrain: off-road across fields, and then a very muddy and rocky track. Suitable for mountain bikes only.

Godshill to East Lane

Godshill - East Lane

Distance: 2.9km (1.8mi)

Time: 16 – 22 minutes

Elevation: up 23m (75ft) down 68m (223ft) in Wroxall to Godshill direction

Terrain: off-road across fields, and then a very muddy and rocky track. Suitable for mountain bikes only.

Brighstone (5)

Brighstone - Mottistone - Shorwell

Route 5 - Brighstone

A fine introduction to mountainbiking, this route on the ridge of the downs is easy to follow, and gives wonderful views of much of the West Wight. Look out also for the characteristic chalk grassland flora, and the bronze age tumuli on Mottistone Down. Steep descent on the road into Shorwell - please take care!


16 km / 10 miles

Brighstone (6)

Brighstone - Yafford - Chale - Chale Green - Shorwell - Yafford - Brighstone

Route 6 - Brighstone

Figure of eight ride from Brighstone along gently undulating country lanes to Chale, at the base of what is locally known as "Chale Mountain". For a much shorter loop, go straight ahead atYafford duck pond, just around the corner from the overshot water mill.

20 km / 12 miles

Ryde (7)

Ryde - Upton - Havenstreet - Langbridge - Newchurch - Alverstone - Adgestone - Brading - Upton - Ryde

Route 7 - Ryde

Explore the landscape of hedgerows and woods that lie behind Ryde, then cross the ridge of the chalk downs and drop steeply into the fertile valley of the East Yar. Follow the cycleway alongside the river for a while, then take the lanes to the historic town of Brading, a good place for refreshments, before returning to Ryde.

25 km / 15 miles

Ryde (8)

Brading - St Helens - Seaview - Spring Vale - Ryde - Binstead - Upton - Brading

Route 8 - Ryde

A longer ride combining coast and countryside, with the choice of a shorter route direct to Brading.The first part through the parks to Seaview is level and mainly traffic free, and makes a good short there-and-back ride.The hilly road between Bembridge and Brading can be busy. After Brading, the route uses country lanes to return to Ryde. Choice of refreshment stops along the coast and at Brading.

25 km / 15 mile

Yarmouth (1)

Freshwater - Yarmouth - Totland

Route 1 - Yarmouth. 

Easy route,mainly on road.Beautiful views of theWesternYar Estuary from the surfaced traffic free cycleway. More traffic but general slow moving on the return from Totland to Yarmouth. Lots of cafes all the way round; good sea swimming at Freshwater Bay,Totland and Colwell.

15 km / 9 miles

Yarmouth (2)

Freshwater - Chessil - Wellow - Thorley - Yarmouth - Afton - Freshwater

Route 2 - Yarmouth

Longer fairly easy cycling on cycleway and country lanes with a wonderful off road section on top of the downs with views over the Solent and the south west coat of the island. The last part of off road clockwise is a steep rutted climb for 15 - 20 min, then it levels off before descending through the golf course (please keep to the path) into Freshwater Bay.

19 km / 12 miles

Yarmouth, Needles and Freshwater

Yarmouth - Freshwater - Needles - Yarmouth

Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay along the Old Railway Line, visit Dimbola Lodge Photographic Museum, then off to the Needles via Farringford (the former home of Tennyson), walk to the summit of Tennyson Down for awesome Island and Solent views before jumping on your bike again for the visit to the Needles. Enjoy the Park, including the famous coloured sands, walk to the gun battery and the rocket testing site before returning to Yarmouth on quiet roads and bridleways.

Distance 12.8 miles

Riding time 2 hours

Overall Moderate

Yarmouth and Freshwater

Yarmouth - Freshwater - Tennyson Trail

Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay along the Old Railway Line, then over Downs with the most fantastic views across the Solent and the Island then the decent to Shalcombe returning by quiet country lanes to Yarmouth.Our most popular route. Some alternative easier / shorter routes are provided. On a nice day one of the best rides you will ever do but it does involve some hills – no pain no gain!

Distance 12.5 miles

Riding time 2 hours

Overall Moderate

Yarmouth toFreshwater

Yarmouth - Freshwater

Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay along the Old Railway Line, visit Dimbola Lodge Photographic Museum, alternative routes to take a taste of the Downs and the Farringford Estate or if time is short a simple return back to Yarmouth. Ideal for those wanting a short ride or with younger children.


Distance 8 miles

Riding time 1 Hour

Overall Easy

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