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Tennyson Down, Freshwater

(4.9/5 based on 100 reviews on the web)
Tennyson Down is a hill at the west end of the Isle of Wight just south of Totland. Tennyson Down is a grassy, whale-backed ridge of chalk which rises to 482 ft/147m above sea level. Tennyson Down is named after the poet Lord Tennyson who lived at nearby Farringford House for nearly 40 years. The poet used to walk on the down almost every day, saying that the air was worth 'sixpence a pint'.OverviewIt is part of the chalk ridge that forms the backbone of the Isle of Wight, this ridge extends to the west for 3mi where it ends with The Needles. To the east the hill descends gently down to Freshwater Bay where the sea has cut through the ridge. To the south is Highdown Cliffs, a near vertical chalk cliff drop of over 100 metres to the sea below.The top of the Down is fairly flat and is predominately grass downland which provides a wide area for walking. There is some scrubland and small trees mainly on the northern side which is away from the prevailing wind.The Down is owned and managed by the National Trust and is grazed by cattle and rabbits which ensures that its grass surface is closely cropped. It is open to the public.At the top of the Down at a height of 147m stands a huge granite cross commemorating the life of Alfred Lord Tennyson. From here on a clear day it is possible to see Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Purbeck to the west, Yarmouth and Lymington to the north, and to the east, much of the Solent, Fawley Oil Refinery, a large part of the western half of the Isle of Wight, and St. Catherine's Point, 20 km away across Brighstone Bay. Surprisingly it is not possible to see the Needles from here as they are hidden beyond the next hill to the west which is known as West High Down.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We parked at the High Down Chalk Pit car park for a walk to the Needles on a day that was overcast, then turned blustery. The car park is free, but small, so get there early. We got there just before ...  more »
  • The walk was easier than anticipated, but would definitely recommend that you don't do this if you have children under the age of 5 with you. Great views. 
  • This is a wonderful walk, especially on a sunny day. We parked at the car park and made the hike to the cliff top. It's steep and needs care, but it's well worth it. From the monument, heading west to...  more »