Shide-Ventnor-Shide 22miles Mixed Terrain
The Troll Trail from Shide, Newport to Merstone starts off this ride on one of the Sustrans Isle of Wight cycle paths. This particular path has several stops to observe some of the nature to be seen along the way. The surface is mainly gritted but a road bike at a slow pace should be ok. However, the path is best suited to Touring and Mountain Bikes. It should be noted that the first 3-4 miles of this route use nearly all cycle path and although the second section from Blackwater to Merstone is mainly Tarmac, it can be quite rough in places.
Once on the road at Merstone, it is not far until you reach the Chequers Inn, a very popular pub on the Island for food. The route then passes over Bleak Down and towards Niton but to make the route a little more interesting, and too avoid a fairly large climb, a left turn at Southford Lane will take you though to Whitwell Village and a more direct route onto Ventnor Road. The White Horse Inn is another recommended pub stop.
There are several options to take you down to the Ventnor Botanic Gardens, but this is an ideal point to take in the drop to Seven Sisters Road via St Lawrence Shute, a nasty climb usually, but in this case, a descent to Undercliff Drive and onto The Botanic Gardens a little further on at the 11 mile point.
From the Gardens the route then takes you onto a visit to Ventnor Esplanade and the Spyglass Inn and other Esplanade attractions. A good place for a break and an opportunity to descend and then ascend Bath Road, a wicked 25% climb over about 150 metres or so. Tip! when going up, keep right over to the left and take the bend nice and wide, it’s much easier. After the visit to the Esplanade, climb out of Ventnor up Zig Zag road, a mini, slightly urban, Alps style climb with a few hairpins. When you reach the top at Upper Ventnor, you continue straight through to Wroxall, take a left at the mini roundabout at Whiteley Bank just outside Sandford and through to Godshill. Godshill, an Olde Worlde village with many attractions and a number of cafe and pub stops including The Willow Tree Tea Gardens, The Griffin pub and The Taverners, is a great place to stop and visit with its Model Village and Cider Barns. There is also the Nostalgia Toy Museum here with several vintage Star Wars toys on show, amongst other toys.
From Godshill it is a simple route back to Blackwater to pick up the cycle path and Troll Trail back to Cowes.
Start at The Troll Trail, Shide, just outside newport. The first three to four miles will take you down the Shide to Sandown cycle track to Merstone Lane. Take a right turn and follow Merstone Lane to main road, take a left then right onto Chequers Inn Road and follow until the T-Junction at the Chequers Inn. Turn left onto Niton Road.
Follow Niton Road over Bleak Down and continue on this road until left turn onto Southford Lane after around 7-8 miles. Follow to the end of the lane then take right turn onto High Street at Whitwell, up the hill to Ventnor Road and continue through towards Ventnor. Take a right into St Lawrence Shute. Take care on this descent, it’s a steep drop to Seven Sisters Road which in turn continues down to Undercliff Drive.
Follow Undercliff Drive until you reach Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the 11 mile mark. Continue on, now along Steephill Road. Continue on into Park Avenue then take a right into Belgrave Road then another right into Bath road. This is a very steep drop with tight turns so beware of cars coming up. At the bottom you will see the Spyglass Inn and Ventnor Beach and Esplande, the perfect place for a refreshment stop. Retrace the route back up Bath road. It’s steep, but worth the effort; if nothing else, to challenge yourself on one of the steepest climbs on the Isle of Wight. Once back onto Belgrave road, turn right onto Zig Zag road (you will notice that you came up Park Road to the left before dropping to the seafront). Zig Zag road is about as close the Isle of Wight gets to an alpine pass!! not to be compared in any way at all, but still a tough climb up and out of Ventnor. After 13 miles you will reach Down Lane on your right. The route does in fact goes straight on here, but a right turn at this point will take you up Down Lane and up to the radar station if you so wish. The 13-15 mile stretch takes you along Newport Lane into Clarence Road, and through Wroxall on St Johns Rd.
Continue on St Johns Road to crossroads and take left onto Shanklin Road. This main road will take you through to Godshill, which will in turn take you along the Newport Road (A3020), through Rookley and onto Blackwater Hollow after 20 miles.
At the bottom of Blackwater Hollow, the route turns back onto the Shide cycle track and through again to the Troll trail and the finish.