ISLE OF WIGHT GUIDED TOURS
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Ventnor to Bonchurch – as a Literary Colony
Bonchurch existed centuries before Ventnor did. In fact, it is one of the oldest settlements on the Island. The village itself appears for all the world as if time has completely stood still here.
Long noted as a literary and artistic colony, Charles Dickens was one of many who has been enchanted by it. He stayed here for a while when writing ‘David Copperfield’. It was also home to the 19th century poet Algernon Swinburne, buried in the graveyard of St. Boniface Parish Church higher up the road. Thomas Carlyle and Thomas Babington Macauley also stayed/lived here – as did Keats. The list goes on. The poet Tennyson was also known to visit and stay with friends here.
You will discover a wealth of interesting and varied facts as you walk the scenic path from Ventnor to Bonchurch. Many of these relate to famous people who have spent time on the Isle of Wight - Winston Churchill and Gandhi among them.
The village is on The Undercliff, next to the Bonchurch Landslips or ‘The Landslip’ - a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Above the village, St. Boniface Down (the Island’s highest point) bears the full name of the saint who converted the Island to Christianity (the last place in the UK to do so).
This is a stunning walk which you will find relaxing and enchanting. We will see some beautiful scenery as we go along. Bonchurch Pond is veritably bursting with wildlife - and is particularly well-known for its carp and terrapins. Stop and watch them for a while, as well as reading the very detailed information board.
Old St. Boniface Church
The quaint 12th century church is one of the smallest you will find (48.6’ long by 12‘ wide) and is well worth a visit. St. Boniface set sail from here for Germany, becoming Archbishop of Mainz and patron saint of Germania. He was eventually martyred in Frisia in AD 754.
If you are lucky and it is open – do also take a look inside Bonchurch Pottery. Located directly on the water’s edge, they often use unique, sea-inspired motifs for their ceramics.
More than anything – this is an inspiringly scenic and peaceful walk. The village itself is full of old-world charm and there is a great variety of things to look at along the way.
As we go round, you may fancy a well-deserved pit stop at The Bonchurch Inn. This bustling hostelry is run by a lovely Italian family. It has a lively atmosphere and a cobbled courtyard where you can sit and bask in the sunshine, feeling far removed from anywhere else.
The home-cooked Italian food is totally authentic and of very high quality. It has an excellent reputation – not least for its ‘life-changing lasagna’!
Whether just having a drink or a meal, you will probably feel suitably refreshed and up to the walk back. We will take a circular route – heading back along the sea wall into Ventnor.
But if you prefer an option that is quicker and easier, you can always take a taxi or hop on a bus, either to Ventnor or to wherever you would like to go next.