During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 we discovered that our children are reasonably tolerant walkers.
On a good day, they can manage a mile or two with only minimal complaining, which is far better than I expected. The key is to figure out when they are 50% exhausted so you can begin to return to the car at the exact right moment.
With this newfound freedom, I decided that the walk around Golden Hill Country Park in Freshwater was worth a go.
We parked up in the (free) car park after driving through a mini industrial estate and discussed which route we should take. It’s well signposted and there are a few different routes depending on how energetic you are feeling.
The children were already beginning to get impatient and the grey clouds were gathering so we picked the short circular route.
It circles the six sided Victorian military building in the middle. It’s an impressive structure although you can’t go inside for a proper view unless you’re hiring one of the holiday homes. Back in the 1990s it was used for raves by local yoof, but it’s more of a Pimms and prosecco sort of place now.
The route is described as accessible, and we didn’t have to face any steps. However, it was pretty rough terrain and it had a couple of hilly bits. I would say you’d need a good set of tyres on a wheelchair or pushchair and a bit of perseverance if you want to make it round without swearing.
The main reason for visiting was to visit the rather cool willow maze which was unveiled earlier in 2021.
It’s about half way round the walk and looks a bit like a spider.
Calling it a maze might be pushing it a bit as there isn’t an obvious entrance or exit. It’s more of a sculpture which is ideal for hide and seek, which passed about 20 minutes with our children. Grandparents were on hand which meant we could sit down and figure out what we were looking at from the viewpoint. We decided it was East Afton Farm and the field where the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival took place.
After we’d finished with the willow maze, we carried on walking round and looked at some of the other ruins which were military buildings in the first world war.
The only annoyance from my point of view was the number of dogs off leads. I don’t think the owners were breaking any rules so I can’t really complain.
However, my relaxed state was slightly altered by a dog the size of a small horse which was yomping through the long grass and had no owner in sight.
In all, the walk took us about 40 minutes but I expect if you rattled round without children you could do it in 20 minutes.
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