Walking on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a walkers' paradise with over 500 miles of footpaths through an exceptional landscape of hills, valleys, coastal area, beaches, nature reserves and a large area designated as an official area of outstanding natural beauty.

What makes the Isle of Wight so special as a walkers' destination, is that even in the height of the summer, you can walk for a long way without even seeing another sole!  Of course if you prefer busier areas to walk in, there are plenty of walks which are more regularly trodden.

Walking from Firefly House

Firefly House is a perfect house from which to base yourself for your Island walking holiday.  Situated within walking distance from the Red Jet passenger ferry, there are several nearby bus stops that connect to all corners of the island.  In the rear garden of the house (with side access), there is an outdoor tap for hosing down muddy gear and boots can be dried out in the downstairs cloakroom.

Route maps

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

If you want to search for a walk in a particular area, please do a search (cmd and 'f' on mac) (ctrl and 'f' on pc).  Remember you do not have to do all the walk in one stage, for example you could do the Tennyson Trail over a week if you split it into sections.

The walking guides below are from these websites 


Visit IOW walking page (follow the link where it says routes)

National Trust Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Red Funnel's guide to Walking on the Isle of Wight

Wightlink's guide to Walking on the Isle of Wight

John Harris' Walking in England, Free walks to download & print IOW

Local Walks and Trails on the Isle of Wight by IOW Council

Isle of Wight Ramblers Download Island Walks


Slideshow photos above credit to visitisleofwight.co.uk

All other photos credit to Firefly House 

Walks around the Isle of Wight

In an anticlockwise direction

Photographs and more walks coming soon . . . 

The Boat Trail Cowes

Cowes and East Cowes

Points of interest around Cowes and East Cowes

Medina Estuary circular walk

North Wight: Cowes - Newport - East Cowes - 9 miles - 4 hours+

The Medina Estuary has a wonderfully interesting character made up of a rich maritime heritage, wealth of natural habitats and vibrant mix of recreation, transportation and industry.

Red Funnel pdf map

Coastal walk Cowes to Yarmouth

North to West Wight: Cowes - Gurnard - Porchfield - Newtown - Shalfleet - Hamstead - Bouldnor - Yarmouth - 16 miles - 7 hours

A coastal walk in name, but on this long walk you also go inland around the Newtown River estuary, passing along cliff tops through villages and woodlands, with fine views of the Solent and mainland beyond.

Red Funnel PDF guide

Enjoy the estuary... Newtown walk

Newtown National Nature Reserve - Newtown Old Town Hall - Walters Copse - Town Quay - Town Copse - 1.5-4 miles - 2+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Our gentle stroll will take you through the varied habitats of the Island’s only National Nature Reserve. Along the way you can visit a Town Hall with a colourful past and discover butterflies flitting through the meadows.

Circular Tour Around the River Yar

North West Wight: River Yar at Yarmouth - 3/4 miles - 1.5 hours

A leisurely walk (riverside) in Isle of Wight, England, about 5.80km (3.60 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 1:30h. It is suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.

viewranger website

carfreewalks website

Defending the Isle: Yarmouth & Fort Victoria Country Park

Yarmouth Castle - Norton - Cliff End Battery - Monks Lane - Golden Hill Country Park - Rifle Range - Red Lion - River Yar Estuary east bank - 6 miles - 2+ hours

With its colour-washed cottages and picturesque square, Yarmouth is just the place to begin an Island walk. The Isle of Wight has always been vulnerable to enemy attack and nowhere is this better illustrated than at Yarmouth.

Just by the ferry terminal stands one of Henry VIII's coastal defences, built in the 16th century to guard against invasion by the French who regarded the Island as a convenient stepping stone in their plan to attack mainland Britain. The walk follows the placid waters of the River Yar south to Freshwater and then heads for Fort Victoria Country Park on the coast.

It was the narrow stretch of the Solent between the Island and the mainland that Fort Victoria was built to defend in 1853. What remains of the fort today is in the care of the Isle of Wight Council and forms part of a popular 50-acre country park. 

Freshwater Way Estuary walk to Yarmouth

West Wight: Freshwater Bay - Freshwater - Yarmouth - 5 miles - 2 hours

An easy walk along the estuary at the River Yar, that splits to give two alternative endings, one continuing along the flat river valley the other rising up Afton Down to finish above the cliffs at Compton Bay.

Coastal walk Yarmouth to Freshwater

West Wight: Yarmouth - Totland - The Needles - Tennyson Down - Freshwater Bay - 9.5 miles - 4.5 hours

This is perhaps the most famous stretch of the Isle of Wight's coast. The highlight is a visit to the infamous Needles, the jagged teeth of rocks that stick out into the sea from the headland. Sadly they cannot be seen from the trail, but a very short diversion leads to a viewpoint. 

There are many other places worth seeing on this walk; from Tennyson's Monument on the eponymous down to the high and wild walking across Headon Warren. The only let-down is an inland diversion through Colwell. The end of the walk involves an optional stroll along Yarmouth Pier; this can be omitted if required.

Points of view: Headon Warren walk

Turf Walk - Totland Pier - Old Lifeboat Station - Alum Bay - Hatherwood Battery - Needles Park - Marconi Memorial - Bronze Age barrow - 3-4.2 miles - 2+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Head on up Headon Warren – a breathtaking walk with splendid views of the mainland, and a Bronze Age burial mound. This walk can be shortened to 3 miles (4.8km) by missing out Alum Bay.

Yarmouth to Brighstone

Yarmouth – Fort Victoria – Colwell Bay – Freshwater – Totland Bay – Heatherwood Point – Alum Bay – the Needles – Scratchell’s Bay – West High Down – Tennyson Monument – Freshwater Bay – Compton Chine – Compton Bay – Shippards Chine – Hanover Point – Brook Chine – Chilton Chine – Grange Chine – 14 miles – 5 hours

A long walk passing the famous pinnacles of chalk that mark the western end of the island, the Needles.  Also passing over downland affording spectacular views of this part of the island and beyond.

Towering Tennyson

Needles Park - Alum Bay - Needles New Battery - The Needles - West High Down - Tennyson Down - Tennyson Monumnet - High Down Inn - 4.4 miles

A walk around the wild western tip of the Isle of Wight taking in Alum Bay, The Needles, West High Down and the magnificent Tennyson Down, with views across Headon
Warren to the Solent and the mainland beyond. 

Tennyson Down: a meander with Maud

Tennyson Monument - Coastguard Station - Needles Viewpoint - Coastguard Station - New Battery - Alum Bay - Needles Park - Tennyson's Bridge - Farringford - St Agnes Church - Dimbola Lodge - 7 miles - 3 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

An invigorating downland walk with a splendid view of the iconic Needles and the chance to visit a 19th-century fort, a Cold War rocket test site and a monument to a Victorian poet laureate.

A challenging hike up to the Tennyson monument

Note: This 7 mile (11km) figure-of-eight walk can be split into two shorter walks of 3 and 4 miles (4.5 and 7.5km).

Explore Brighstone Village Walk

Two walks around Brighstone - each 2.5 miles

A colourful map showing a “figure of eight” walk in Brighstone and highlighting interesting wildlife, historic buildings and beautiful scenery.


The South section of the walk follows streams and farmland down to the sea and the North section follows ancient trails up to the downs. 

Chilton Chine and Brighstone - where the countryside meets the coast

Chilton Green - Military Road - Mottistone Church - Mottistone Manor Farm - Long Stone - Strawberry Lane - Black Barrow - Gaggerhill Farm - Brighstone - Grange Chine - Grange Farm - Chilton Farm - 6 miles - 2 hours

Red Funnel walk

Not far from the start of this spectacular walk is the National Trust's Mottistone Manor Garden where you might like to pause and enjoy a little light refreshment before crossing a glorious rolling landscape to reach the sprawling village of Brighstone. Puzzled by the name of the local pub? It's so called because three rectors from this parish later became bishops of Bath and Wells, Oxford and Winchester and Salisbury. On a more sinister note, Brighstone was once a haunt of smugglers, with brandy from Cherbourg brought ashore near here at dead of night. Look out for the fascinating little museum dedicated to the history of this picturesque Island village. 

Tennyson Trail (Freshwater to Crasibrooke across the Island)

West Wight: Carisbrooke - Brighstone - Mottistone - Chessell - Shalcombe - Freshwater Bay - The Needles - 14 miles - 6 hours

A long and challenging walk which climbs up the downs and generally follows the crest through forests, past ancient burial sites, the Tennyson monument, and the Needles to Alum Bay.  Superb views in many directions.

Red Funnel pdf guide

Paradise on the Isle of Wight butterfly walk (Freshwater Way and Tennyson Trail)

West Wight: Compton Chine - Freshwater Way - Tennyson Trail - Brook Down - 5 miles - 2.5 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Butterfly spotting does not get any better than this; walking along the chalk ridge that runs through the middle of the Isle of Wight you will find an abundance of flora and insect life, pure escapism into the real world.

Compton Beach to Compton Down

Brook Chine – Shippard’s Chine/Compton – Military Road – Tennyson Trail – Compton Down – Brook Down – Dunsbury Farm – 6 miles – 3/4 hours

Circular trip from the beach at Compton Bay, over the Downs and back down

Dinosaur Safari

Tour by car with walks at: Isle of Wight Zoo - Yaverland - Compton Bay

The Isle of Wight is also known as Dinosaur Island. It’s the UK’s dinosaur capital, and one of the best places in the planet to find fossils. Who knows what you might find in a day... a bone? An entire skeleton? A new species?

The section that we’ll take you along for this itinerary will enable you to see the most striking geological features of the Isle of Wight including sweeping Compton Bay and dramatic Culver Down.

ABC of the downs walk on the Isle of Wight (West Wight)

Freshwater Bay - Tennyson Trail - Five Barrows - Brook Hill House - Mottistone Estate - Hulverstone - Brook - Military Road - Brookgreen - Shippards Chine - Compton Chine - ELM Memorial - 7.5 miles - 3.5 hours

Enjoy splendid views on this leg-stretching walk over the ridge of Afton, Brook and Compton Downs. Then follow in the steps of the dinosaurs back along the coast.

Discover Dunsbury Trail (West Wight)

West Wight: Brook Chine - Brook - Compton Grange - Dunsbury - 3.5 miles - 2 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Take a breezy and invigorating farmland and downs walk with us over the Dunsbury Estate on the Isle of Wight, purchased through the National Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign. Admire the magnificent views, and appreciate why we bought this land in response to increasing coastal erosion on this island coast.

Worsely Trail from Brighstone to Shanklin

Brighstone Forest - Limerstone Down - Chillerton Down - Shorwell - Godshill - Appuldurcombe - Wroxall - Shanklin Down - Shanklin - 13 miles - 6 hours

During the course of this long walk you will pass beside pine forests, over chalk downland, across fields and rivers, between farm buildings and along the course of the former railway line before entering the historic heart of Shanklin.

Shepherds Trail from Carisbrooke to the south coast

Carisbrooke – Whitcombe – Garstons Down – Gatcombe – Chillerton – Billingham Manor – Kingston – Gun Hill – Dungewood Farm – Samber Hill – Shepherds Chine – 7 miles – 3 hours

Staring beneath historic Carisbrooke Castle walking up and down the chalky hills of the Island to the coast with great views over the surrounding countryside. 

Mottistone meander: climb to the common

Mottistone Gardens - Long Stone - Strawberry Lane - Mottistone Down - Bronze Age barrow - 3.9 miles - 2+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Visit a mysterious ancient monument and enjoy fine views over the Mottistone estate to the sea.

Mottistone meander: south to the sea

Mottistone Gardens - Mottistone Manor Farmouse - Sudmoor Point - Military Road - 2.8 miles - 2 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Explore the delightful farmed countryside stretching south from Mottistone Gardens to the coastal cliffs at Sudmoor Point. Enjoy splendid sea views and the chance to encounter rare wildlife.

Stomping around Shorwell

Shorwell - Wolverton Manor - Dungewood - Kingston Manor - 6 miles - 3/4 hours

Walk around the countryside of Shorwell Village.

Up for the challenge of a Chillerton Down walk?

Chillerton - Chillerton transmitting station - Chillerton Down - Blackwater Mill - Gatcomebe Withy Bed - St Olave's Church - Chillerton - Berry Hill - 4-9.3 miles - 3.5 - 4 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

This walk takes you off the beaten track in the middle of the Island – through woods and valleys, and across the downs with distant sea glimpses to enjoy. It's quite a long walk, so be prepared.

A Chillerton Down Circular walk

Chillerton - Chillerton transmitting station - Chillerton Down - Dunkem Down - 4.5 miles - 2+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

This walk circumnavigates Chillerton Down, a less well known chalky down in the centre of the Isle of Wight.

Brighstone to Niton

Grange Chine – Cowleaze Chine – Shepherds Chine – Whale Chine – Walpen Chine – Blackgang Chine – St Catherine’s Hill – Gore Cliff – Niton – 8 miles – 4 hours

Starting at Grange Chine this walk ambles over cliff tops giving superb views of the crumbing coastline.  The chines are a special coastal feature of this particular area.  As you meander along the cliff top route it is easy to imagine the smuggling trade of old going on along this relatively remote stretch of coast.

Red Funnel PDF guide

The monk and the merchant walk (St Catherine's Down)

Blackgang - St Catherine's Down - Hoy Monument - Wydcombe House - St Catherine's Oratory

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Ships A-Hoy! A breathtaking circular walk steeped in history with spectacular panoramic views across the Island.

Explore the island on green hills great for hiking

Enjoy the views from St Catherine's Down over Compton Bay to Tennyson Down and beyond. Spot rare wildlife in Wydcombe valley and learn about the ancient grasslands and monuments on the route.

Pepperpot walk near Blackgang

Blackgang View Point Car Park - St Catherine’s Oratory (Pepperpot) - Hoy Monument - Wydcombe Manor - Bierley - Niton - 8 miles - 4/5 hours

From Blackgang past the Pepperpot and beyond.

Shedding light on the tip of the Wight walk (St Catherine's Point)

Niton Undercliff - Knowles Farm - St Catherine's Point - Castlehaven - Buddle Inn - Barrack Shute - 3.5 miles 2.5 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Discover an ever-changing landscape boasting panoramic views and a wealth of wildlife, at this most southerly point of the Isle of Wight. See the Island’s only surviving onshore lighthouse and explore the area where Marconi made some of his early experiments in radio. Some paths are very steep and slippery, so please take appropriate precautions.

Niton to Sandown

Barrack Shute Niton – Puckaster Cove – Bimnel Bay – St Lawrence – Woody Bay – Orchard Bay – Steephill Cove – Ventnor – Bonchurch – Luccombe Chine – Shanklin Chine – Lake – Sandown – 9 miles – 4 hours

A coastal walk that starts high avoe the seashore and passes through Ventnor and areas of National Trust land before walking along Victorian promenades next to the sandy beaches of Shankin and Sandown.

St Lawrence to Sandown Coastal Path Pub Walk

St Lawrence - Woody Bay - Orchard Bay - Steephill Cove - Botanic Gardens - Ventnor - Bonchurch - Luccombe Chine - Luccombe - Shanklin Chine - Little Stairs Point - Lake Cliff Gardents - Lake - Sandown - 7 miles - 3.5 hours

A coastal pub walk that passes through Ventnor and areas of National Trust Land before walking along Victoria promenades next to the sandy beaches of Shanklin and Sandown. 

See a red squirrel at Borthwood Copse walk (Winford, Newchurch)

Bothwood Copse - 1.2 miles - 1 hour

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

This short atmospheric walk in a secluded part of the Island takes you through woods that are home to an Isle of Wight speciality: the red squirrel.

A delightful wander amongst ancient trees

It is a particularly beautiful place to be when the trees take on their autumn colours in October and early November. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells.

Down south: Luccombe and the Landslip walk

Luccombe Down – Nansen Hill – Smugglers Haven tea-rooms – Devils Chimney – The Landslip Luccombe Village – Haddon’s Pits – St Blasius’ Church – Shanklin Down – 4.5 miles – 2/2.5 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

In May it's a haze of blue from the bluebells, then in September and October enjoy the autumn colours of heather and bracken on this invigorating walk in the south of the Island, with splendid far-reaching views to Culver Downs in the east.

Enjoy dramatic views from the highest point on the Island.

For those who enjoy strenuous walking, join this walk to the Ventnor Down National Trust trail, which starts from the car park next to the radar station.

Ventnor Downs: pre-history to Cold War walk

Ventnor Down – Ventnor Radar Station – Bronze Age Cemetery – Bonchurch Down - St Boniface Down – Site of old Ventnor Town Railway Station – 2.6 miles – 2 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Witness the history of the landscape on this short but challenging walk on the south side of the Isle of Wight.

Down South: views of Ventnor walk

Ventnor Down – Old Ventnor Town Railway Station – St Boniface Down – Ventnor Radar Station – 1.5 hours – 2.5 miles

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Enjoy spectacular far-reaching views on this short but challenging walk on the south side of the Island.

Stenbury Trail Newport to Ventnor

Newport Shide – River Medina – Blackwater – Great Budbridge Manor – River Yar - Godshill – Appuldurcombe Down – Stenbury Down – Ventnor – Botanic Gardens – 10 miles – 3 hours

Following bridleways along the river valley before gently rising up and over Appuldurcombe, Stenbury and Week downs, affording fine views to both the north and south, then descending to the botanic gardens at Ventnor.

Appuldurcombe - Godshill

Godshill - Appuldurcombe - Owl & Falconry Centre - Sainham Farm - 8 miles - 4 hours

Red Funnel Walk

A circular walk from Godshill taking in Appuldurcombe House

Bembridge Point to Newport Shide Corner

The Point Bembridge – Bembridge Windmill – Brading Marshes – Bembridge Airfield – Nature Reserve – Centurion’s Copse – Brading St Mary’s Church – Brading Down – Bembridge Trail – Knighton – Arreton – St George’s Down – Newport – 11 miles – 3 hours

A walk from Bembridge along the Bembridge Trail to Newport 

Bembridge and Culver Downs marshes trail

Bembridge Windmill –- Steyne Wood – Whitecliff Bay – Yarborough Monument – Bembridge Fort –Brading Marshes Nature Reserve – Centurion’s Copse – Bembridge Trail/Yar River Trail – 6.5 miles – 3 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

An invigorating walk over the downs and RSPB Brading Marshes reserve, with splendid views of the coast and countryside and the opportunity to visit the Island’s only surviving windmill.

Fine fortifications and wonderful wildlife walk around Culver Down

Bembridge Fort – Culver Down – Yarborough Monument – Culver Haven Inn – Culver Signal Station – Culver Beacon - Culver Battery – Whitecliff Bay – Culver Down – Red Cliff – Bembridge Fort – 2.75 miles – 1.5 hours

Although peaceful today, Bembridge and Culver Downs were once a scene of much military activity. This short but energetic coastal walk will give you a fascinating insight into the Isle of Wight’s role in wartime defence and intelligence. It is also rich in wildlife and offers spectacular views over Sandown and Whitecliff Bays. 

Fine Fortifications trail (Culver Down)

Bembridge Fort - Culver Haven Inn - Culver Battery - Culver Down - Whitecliff Ledge - 1.8 miles - 1.5 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Although peaceful today, Bembridge and Culver Downs were once a scene of much military activity. We suggest you book a visit to Bembridge Fort on a Tuesday then afterwards follow this easy and fairly flat walk along the top of the downs to gain a fascinating insight into the Isle of Wight’s role in wartime defence and intelligence. Otherwise inspect the fort from the outside, since it is not open to the public. The walk is suitable for most wheelchairs and offers spectacular views over Sandown Bay, Whitecliff Bay and Brading Haven.

Circumnavigate Culver trail (Culver Down)

Bembridge Fort - Culver Haven Inn - Yarborough Monument - Whitecliff Bay - Culver Down - Red Cliff - 2.8 miles - 1.5+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

Take a short but exhilarating cliff top walk over Bembridge and Culver Downs which offers spectacular views over Sandown and Whitecliff Bays. There’s the chance of seeing peregrines, ravens, cowslips and butterflies at different times of year, and it’s equally enjoyable if you just want to take in the views from the cliff tops.

The Culver Trail (Culver Down from Bembridge)

Bembridge Windmill – Culver Down – Yarborough Memorial – Brading Haven – Steyne Wood – Bembridge Airport – Peacock Hill – Bembridge Harbour – Culver Haven pub – Bembridge Down – Whitecliff Bay – 3.75 miles – 2 hours

A 3.75 mile circular walk, which should take between 1.5 and 2 hours. There are a number of stiles, and a few steep sections of this trail. 

Links and ledges walk, discover the Duver and St Helens

St Helens Duver – Bembridge Harbour – St Helens Old Church – Node’s Point – Horestone Point – Seagrove Bay – Priory Bay Hotel – Vine Inn – St Helens Common – 3.8 miles – 2 hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

A varied coastal walk exploring St Helens Duver, a sandy spit of land rich in wildlife and history. From busy Bembridge harbour you pass along the rocky seashore before climbing up inland and returning via picturesque St Helens village.

Down on the Duver

St Helens Duver – Bembridge Harbour – Mill Quay - St Helens Green - St Helens Common - St Helens Old Church 1.6 miles – 1+ hours

National Trust website: Downloadable walks on the Isle of Wight

A short but varied coastal walk exploring St Helens Duver, a sandy spit of land on the eastern tip of the Island, rich in wildlife and history.

Nunwell Trail (Sandown to Ryde)

Sandown Railway St - Nature Reserve - Alverstone - Brading Down - Nunwell House - Nunwell Farm - Hardingshute Farm - IOW Steam Railway - Smallbrook Stadium - St Johns Rd St - Ryde - 7 miles - 3 hours

This walk starts in Sandown, finishes in Ryde, passes water meadows and crosses the spine of chalk downland that runs the length of the Island. 

From the Nature Reserve Bird Hide, it is possible to see the only regular colony of Sand Martins on the Island. Other birds include Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

From the top of Brading Down there are panoramic views which encompass the whole of the East Wight, Solent and Spithead.

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway tuns from Havenstreet, West to Wootton and East to Ryde. The railway crosses the trail near Smallbrook. There is a station at Smalbrook Junction.

There are a selection of pubs, restaurants and eateries on Sandown Esplanade. 

RedFunnel pdf guide

Sandown to Ryde (coastal)

Ryde – Appley Park – Appley Tower – Puckpool Park – Spring Vale – Nettlestone Point – Seaview – Seagrove Bay – Priory Bay – Nodes Point – St Helens Old Church – The Duver – St Helens – Bembridge Harbour – Bembridge Point – Bembridge – Bembridge Lifeboat Station – Bembridge Coastguard Lookout – Whitecliff Bay – Culver Cliff – Yarborough Monument – Bembridge Down – Yaverland – Sandown – 12 miles – 4 hours

A coastal walk beginning on Victorian promenades, then rising over the chalk cliffs of Culver Down and passing around the more tranquil Bembridge Harbour, before returning to promenades once again.

Ryde to Cowes (through Wootton)

Ryde - Binstead - Quarr Abbey - Fishbourne - Wootton - Woodhouse Copse - Whippingham - East Cowes - Cowes - 8 miles - 4 hours

This coastal walk links the two historic towns of Ryde and Cowes meandering past abbey ruins, a former royal residence and a modern day vineyard. 

Red Funnel pdf guide

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