Freshwater Bay & Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Our Isle of Wight Adventure was drawing to a close and we decided to spend another day oot n aboot on the bikes.

We found what looked to be an interesting circular cycling route on the Wightlink website.  It turned out to be very scenic and without many steep hills (just two I think) – result!  The route involved a combination of road, off road and cycle track.

9-mile cycle route Yarmouth – Freshwater Bay 🚲

We picked the route up outside the site at the top of Heathfield Road (just up from Colwell Road on the map), turning left and following the road down through Totland and on towards Freshwater Bay.  There are old smuggler caves in this bay that can be seen at low tide.  Today though, the action seemed to be mostly water sports enthusiasts.

We sat at the bay for a while before carrying on through the hamlet of Afton, after which we turned onto the cycleway which carried us along into Yarmouth.  This part was a gentle ride alongside the picturesque River Yar Estuary.

On arrival at Yarmouth we reached ‘Off The Rails’, a cafe/restaurant located within the old Yarmouth Railway Station.  It’s furnished very much in keeping with its rail history.  We stopped here for a drink and sat at a table outside on the old platform imagining the station back in its day.

Afterwards, we continued into the bustling Yarmouth Harbour which is pretty and lively with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, etc to keep you occupied.

Basically, our afternoon was spent in the Harbour area wandering and watching boats come and go.  Two places we visited and would recommend for food/drink are:-

Salty’s – a quirkily appealing bar with a separate restaurant.  We only went into the bar section downstairs which was very welcoming and relaxed with long tables and long bench seating creating a very sociable feel.  Visitors can write on the ceiling (so obviously we did!) which is painted over every 2 years so that there’s always space for visitors to leave their mark.  Upstairs is the seafood restaurant and we’d love to try this out on a future visit.

Bugle Coaching Inn – 16th century inn in the Market Square.   Despite being very busy  we somehow managed to find a table and enjoyed a lovely meal there.

Obviously there are loads more places but there’s only so much us two could eat/drink during one afternoon/evening there 😬.

By evening there was another lovely sunset over the boats in the Harbour which we captured before cycling back to site over Bridge Road.  There’s quite a steep section after this point where we pushed our bikes up before re-mounting to finish off the short ride back to site.

Sunset over Yarmouth Harbour

All this fresh air and exercise out and about was making us sleep very well! 😴.

On the final day of our holiday we decided to chill out beside Jolly and soak up some of the glorious sunshine 😎 as we’d been on the move pretty much since we arrived.  The site wasn’t over busy and so we enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful afternoon.  We also started to pack up some things in preparation for leaving the next morning.

By late afternoon, we’d decided that our final meal for this visit had to be back at The Hut in Colwell Bay.  So we pre-booked a table online and walked there as the bikes had been loaded back up onto the back of Jolly.  It was about a 2 mile walk to The Hut and back.

The Hut was heaving on arrival but again still seemed to retain just the right atmosphere, and soon quietened down a little after the afternoon rush.  We ate, had a couple of drinks and stayed just long enough to catch the sunset, before returning for an early night in preparation for our long journey home the next day.

The perfect finish to our hollibobs.

Our drive back up took us through the New Forest which looked stunning and had animals roaming freely through the fields and by the roadside.  It’s another place on our lonnnnng ‘To Do’ list.

So, our verdict on the Isle of Wight for a moho adventure ….

FANBLINKINTASTIC!  Obviously the perfect summer weather helped, but the place itself is beautiful with so much more to see and do than we had originally expected of this relatively small island.  Numerous camping sites/touring parks to allow easy exploration of all areas of the island.  The South is considered the more tourist-popular side of the island, but we found the North equally appealing.   We came back having fallen in love with the place and knowing that we must return to explore it some more.

Ahhh, I’m all blogged out after this trip and Jolly’s parked up having a rest … but not for long 😉.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Garlic Farm, Red Squirrel Trail & Sandown, Isle of Wight

Our final day in this area of the Island was spent on our bikes again. This time we cycled just 1.5 miles to the nearby Garlic Farm and shop. It was an interesting visit for garlic lovers and we left safe in the knowledge that we can put garlic in pretty much anything.  In fact somebody tell Peter Kay – garlic beer, it’s the future, we’ve tasted it! 🍻

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then cycled back on ourselves to Landbridge where we joined the ‘Red Squirrel Cycle Trail’ to take us the four miles or so down to Sandown.  It’s a cycle path created over an old railway line so it’s pretty flat for the most part.  The whole trail runs for approx. 23 miles through the countryside from East Cowes down to Sandown.  We look forward to completing the rest of this trail on our next visit to the island.

Once in Sandown we enjoyed a delicious crab sandwich at The Beach Shack Bar on the Western Esplanade as we soaked up the sun and views, just watching the world go by for a while before riding further along the front to Yaverland.

The beach at Yaverland is considered to be one of the best on the island and is very popular with water sport enthusiasts.

It turned out to be another glorious sunshiny day.  Absolutely perfect for cycling.  Once off the trail there were a few challenging hills but it was always worth the effort.   There are lots of cycle hire shops hiring out electric bikes for those who might prefer an easier cycling experience on what is known as ‘Bicycle Island’.

By early evening, after a day generally exploring Sandown, we returned.  We rode/walked up the hill back into Newchurch, stopped for a flyer in the Pointer Inn, and then got back to site.  We’d timed it well as the fish n chip van was parked up on site (it visits twice a week), so we ordered our chippy tea, set the table back at Jolly and enjoyed our well earned supper as we watched the sun set.

Sunset over Southland Caravan and Motorhome Club Site


Here’s a very short snippet-of-a-video taken along part of the Cycle Trail and on Sandown beach …

The next morning we packed up, waved goodbye to Newchurch, and headed off to Freshwater on the north part the island for the second half of our stay.   Already though, we had fallen in love with the Isle of Wight.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Crowden, Glossop, High Peak, Derbyshire

Back from another cheeky Jolly jaunt!  This time we fancied another peek at the Peak District.

Crowden, a village lying in the Longdendale Valley of the High Peak area of Derbyshire, north-east of Glossop, was our destination.  It’s Derbyshire’s most northerly village and a popular first stop for those walking the 267-mile Pennine Way which begins approx. 16 miles away in Edale and stretches allllllll the way up to Kirk Yetholm, just over the Scottish Border.  Anyway, enough about that, I’ve sprung a blister just thinking about it.

There are 6 reservoirs within the Longdendale Valley (Woodhead, Torside, Rhodeswood, Valehouse, Bottoms and Arnfield) known collectively as the ‘Longdendale Chain’ on the River Etherow.  There was apparently once a seventh reservoir at nearby Hollingworth but that one was abandoned and became what is today Swallows Wood Nature Reserve.

We stayed for the first time at Crowden Camping and Caravanning Club Site.  A site mostly for walkers/cyclists or anyone wanting to get away from it all as it is in quite a remote location compared to many other sites.  There are plenty of places to visit that are a drive away, fine if you have transport but we didn’t see anything in the way of public transport in the immediate area.

It’s a lovely little site though, with a recently refurbished toilet block and the staff provide a great food service for weary walkers, etc. in the form of pizzas/burgers in the evening, and breakfasts.  We didn’t use this service as we had brought our own food for the first evening and ate while out and about the following day, but it appeared to be very popular with many campers.  There was even delivery to your pitch – nice touch!

Crowden is situated on high moorland and was originally created to re-locate people displaced by the necessity to dam and flood the lower part of the valley when the reservoirs were created between 1848-1884.  It was once served by a railway station on the Woodhead Line which linked the cities of Manchester and Sheffield and ran through the valley via the Woodhead Tunnel.  The station was closed in 1957 and the line used for the last time in 1981.

Part of the old railway line has since been transformed into the 7-mile ‘Longdendale Trail’ (part of NCN62) running from nearby Hadfield to the Woodhead Tunnel.  You can walk, cycle or ride ya horse along it.

We joined the trail at Crowden, rode the section to Woodhead tunnel and back before then following the rest of the trail into Hadfield, where we had a wander around the town and a bite to eat, before heading back home along the trail.

Woodhead Reservoir

The trail is relatively flat, just a gradual incline heading Woodhead way from Hadfield but this isn’t particularly noticeable.  It’s a hard gravel surface so is easy to ride but apparently it can be difficult if very wet.  Because the trail is exposed, it provides wonderfully uninterrupted scenic views of the surrounding landscape and reservoirs, with plenty of viewing places to sit awhile and just take it all in.   We definitely saw this place at it’s best as the weather couldn’t have been better – cloudless skies and not so much as a breeze.

On arrival at Hadfield we just had a mooch around.  The town, particularly the main street, was used as the filming location for ‘The League of Gentlemen’.   We just happened upon the Pauline’s Job Centre.

After an afternoon of cycling and walking we stopped to enjoy a couple of real ales and a meal in the beer garden at The Peels Arms Hotel, before heading back along the trail to site.

Another great weekend has flown by.  Fab weather, hope it continues!


Suzie & Bri