Walkers’ holiday and Freedom break 2018

Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight 19th – 23rd March

60 members and friends were booked into the HF hotel at Freshwater Bay for a 4 day holiday from the 19th March.  We were surprised to find the island covered in snow when we arrived but we were given a warm welcome by the hotel staff and our 3 walks leaders.  47 of the party opted to do one of the 3 daily walk options, whilst the remainder of the group went sightseeing.  The weather was cool but dry and mainly sunny for our stay.  The walks ranged from 7 miles on the easier walks to 12 on the harder walks and took us over the Downs to Ventnor Botanic Garden, Shorwell and Carisbrooke Castle and through farmland, attractive villages and the coastal path.  After an excellent meal each evening there was entertainment, which comprised of quizzes, games and a talk from a local speaker on Charles I and Carisbrooke Castle.  A great time was had by all and we are looking forward to 2019 when we plan to go to Malham.
Janet Clews

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The view from the hotel, Freshwater Bay House

At the beginning of the week, we walked through snow

Carisbrooke Castle

On Tuesday evening Kevin Shaw gave us an interesting, illustrated talk on Charles I and the events leading up to his execution.  He particularly mentioned the number of escape attempts from Carisbrooke Castle.  This was very appropriate as one of the walks was centred around Carisbrooke and many of the non – walkers visited the castle.

Taking a break at Whitwell Church

The location was only a few miles from the Needles

Quarr Abbey

One of the most popular places to visit was Quarr Abbey, near Ryde. The architecture of this Benedictine Monastery is stunning.  The original abbey was destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII.  The new abbey was built as a monastery for the French Benedictine community of Solesmes who were living in exile on the Isle of Wight at the beginning of the twentieth century. Its architect was one of the monks, Dom Paul Bellot (1876-1944).

The Old Town Hall, Newtown

In 1933 the Old Town Hall near Shalford was given to the National Trust by the mysterious Ferguson’s Gang, a group of young women who wore masks and used fictitious names such as Red Biddy, Sister Agatha and Bill Stickers. Their bizarre exploits have secured their reputation as some of the Trust’s most unusual benefactors


The group and staff on the final evening

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