Eventually I'm going to produce a guide to five wheelchair friendly walks on the Isle of Wight (or pushchair if you have young children).
For those that have faced such challenges you'll know that even a single step can be an insurmountable obstacle (to the extent that my father used to refer to the staircase at home as 'Everest'). On our outings, family members would gather round The Step, offering suggestions of how it might be conquered with bits of wood and some back-breaking lifting. In fact, I might sell the idea to a company which offers corporate team-building exercises.
Anyway, I'm keen to get these wheelchair friendly walks right and not just add five based on my vague memories of what the route was like.
The Bonchurch to Ventnor walk is one that we managed several times in one of those electric wheelchairs that are utterly amazing for offering independence, but can't really cope with anything more than a half step.
Park in Shore Road, Bonchurch where the car park has views of gorgeous nothingness, which stretch to the horizon. The car park is a council one, so you have to pay for it (about £2 - £4 for a standard stay). If you drive back into Bonchurch there is sometimes some free on-street parking, particularly in winter.
It's a nice walk in winter with the waves crashing along the sea wall. At low tide there's a bit of sand below.
After just over a mile you'll find yourself in Ventnor. We usually have the all-day breakfast at Besty and Spinky's (about £5, 2015, wheelchair accessible) but there are lots of places to eat along the Esplanade. There's also a paddling pool for younger visitors to splash about in.
The next bit requires you to head down the hill to the seafront. It is a very steep hill, so I don't think I'd attempt it with a manual wheelchair. It was fine going up and down with our electric wheelchair, but you'd have to hold on pretty tight with a manual one - and it might be a pretty hairy journey for the wheelchair user. It would also be really hard work in a manual chair on the way back.
When we visited you could drive down to the seafront (although you can't park) so you could drop people off and then drive back up if you needed to.
Turn right and then you'll follow the seawall all the way along to Ventnor. There isn't a railing along a lot of it, so you'll need reins or a shouty voice for young children.
You can't quite get onto the beach with a wheelchair, but there is a ramp down which means you can get pretty close.
There are toilets at both ends of the walk. From what I remember, the ones in Bonchurch (left at the bottom of the hill) aren't accessible, but the Ventnor one is (see this disabled toilet guide from Isle of Wight Council - not sure on the date of this).
There's a car park at both ends of the walk so you can attempt it either way round.
More wheelchair friendly walks coming soon...(well, probably not soon, but eventually)
Other Wheelchair Friendly Walks In The Trilogy
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog