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Tennyson Down, Freshwater

4.9
#2 of 9 in Things to do in Freshwater
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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Tennyson Down Reviews
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114 reviews
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  • August 19, 2017
    We have visited Tennyson Down on many occasion and it still fills me with awe, the views are mind blowing and it is all free!! We're else can you see so much of our beautiful land the walk up to the m...  more »
  • July 19, 2017
    I'm lucky enough to be able to walk here everyday. The views are superb with so much to see in every direction. Uphill to get there but the reward comes with the downhill journey! If you are very ener...  more »
  • July 15, 2017
    Fantastic walk from freshwater out and about waterfront back. Condition required, the phenomenal views, the needles, and the grandiose nature compensates for the strenuous ascent.
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