This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
FEATURE I ISLE OF WIGHT


as I had entered the trail via Longwood Lane I was immediately transported to a glorious bucolic environment provided by a blossoming Nature Reserve.


Alverstone Mead consists of 25 hectares of mixed habitats including wet meadows, woodland and wild flower meadows. It is home to a remarkable array of flora and fauna, especially dragonflies and red squirrels. This morning the whole area was exhibiting a melancholy persona due to the low lying mist. It brought to mind the graphic description of the marshes from the novel ‘Great Expectations’. The temperature was still comfortable and as I continued, the ghostly mist lifted to present a stirring landscape dominated by luscious greenery which appeared to slowly close in on all sides, naively protecting me from the unknown. This section of the route takes you through (actually it sidesteps) the lovely quaint villages of Alverstone, Horringford, and Arreton (where it crosses a busy ‘A’ road) before encountering Merstone, and finally ending in the county town of Newport. Only remnants of the original Merstone Station still remain today, it was unfortunately closed for good in


1956. Nowadays the platform is partially obstructed by an overgrowth of brambles and long grass but there are signs of its past, a strategically placed stone carving of two suitcases sits uncomfortably on the platform, emitting a forlorn image, discarded in a similar fashion to the Station. All was silent but for the whisper of the gentle wind in the nearby trees.


The whole of this rail trail, cycle way was re-themed and named in 2014 as the “Red Squirrel Trail” The route provides a family friendly, mostly car free, two day cycle tour, that crosses the island from coast to coast. The Red Squirrel Trail www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island/ red-squirrel-trail and the “Bicycle Island” campaign were the fruit of an economic partnership with the IW Council and the local tourist board, Visit Isle of Wight. Capital projects such as surfacing new cycle ways have complimented a grant fund to help grow the range of services to cycle tourists. This has created a mini cycle tourism boom with the Island bagging the top feature in the Guardians “Cycling Breaks” summer supplement. All that activity wasn’t wasted, with Tourism


South East recently reporting a doubling of tourists using bikes as their main transport in the peak of the 2014 tourist season. The Island positively welcomes tourists on bikes and never were there truer words than its “Drive Less See More” motto.


I NEEDED AN OVERDUE COFFEE BREAK


Newport was quiet but it was still early. My coffee stop was predictably the busiest place in the town, as usual it adequately satisfied my demands for an early morning caffeine fix. Re-energised I decided to leave the delights of Newport for another day and continued north, Cowes was on my radar. Thankfully I had discovered a signed route (route 23) which gracefully followed the River Medina into the western part of the town.


Cowes is without doubt the most famous sailing destination in the World and dates from Tudor times. The town is spilt into West and East Cowes and is separated by the beautiful River Medina, both offer completely different things. The western part is acknowledged as having best shopping and a splendid harbour and


64 www.cyclingworldmag.com


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116