5 of the best Isle of Man short walks“Wow! It’s a walker’s paradise” or “I never knew that the Isle of Man has so many beautiful and varied landscapes to offer walkers”. These are phrases our visitors often tell us when we are out guiding and showing off our island on foot. But it’s not a surprise to us with a near unlimited choice of routes and landscape to choose from and stunning views around every corner.
In our latest walking blog Ken Harding from Walking.im shares his insight into some of the best short walking routes on the Isle of Man. Long distance routes can cover many miles but one of the many advantages our island has to offer is compact little walks offering an hour or two’s exploring and give you a sense of achievement along with a camera full of memories.
1. Spooyt Vane Waterfall
This gentle walk of about 5 miles is in the west of the island and has a little bit of everything – beach, woodland, views galore and the island’s waterfall Spooyt Vane or ‘White spout’ in Manx. A wonderful walk with plenty to keep entertaining. The walks starts from Glen Wyllin car park, which is easily accessible from the bus stop near Douglas Road Corner on the TT course then a 10 minute walk to the start point.
2. Ramsey Glens and Ballure Reservoir
This walk around the glens and reservoir near Ramsey in the North of the island offer panoramic views over the northern plain and sometimes onwards out to sea to the Bahama sand bank. Starting in the heart of this harbour town this moderate walk of about 4 miles can be rewarded with the opportunity for an ice cream or glass of something chilled at the end! The walk takes in two beautiful glens, meanders around the tranquil Ballure reservoir and offers an opportunity to stand and admire the view over the northern plain on the same spot as Prince Albert did in 1847 or towards the magnificent North Barrule standing firm overlooking the town. Get the timings right you can finish underneath the Victorian iron Queens Pier and springtime is the ideal time to see the ‘Wild Garlic’ and ‘Bluebells’ out in full splendour. This walk provides the opportunity to enjoy the Island’s extensive public transport network; catch the bus from Douglas or why not take the Manx Electric Railway from Douglas along the East coast passing through Lonan, Laxey and Maughold - the views are fantastic!
3. Peel Castle, Peel Hill, and Corrin’s Folly
This lovely little walk has dramatic views, ancient history, marine wildlife, and a stroll along Peel Promenade for a kipper bap or deep fried Manx queenies and chips.
Peel Castle overlooks the bay, built by the Vikings, its sits on St Patrick’s Isle dominating the coastal landscape. This moderate walk of about 3 miles gently climbs up Peel Hill to the landmark of Corrins Folly again offering spectacular views as far as the eye can see. The route can be a little energetic in places but why rush, with magnificent views along the central valley, northwards towards Jurby Church or south along the dramatic west coast cliffs and even over to the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland every reason to dawdle. Catch a glimpse of a Basking Shark, Seals, or dolphins in the bay or in the surrounding waters. Allow 2 hrs for this walk as there is so much to see. The Isle of Man's main fishing port is easily accessible by bus and offers harbourside pubs and seafood eateries.
4. The Langness Peninsula
This gentle walk starts and finishes in Castletown, the ancient capital of Mann and encompasses the Langness Peninsula with a fort and a lighthouse providing the landmarks on the dramatic coastline that takes you out to the end of Dreswick Point. The Castletown Golf Links features as one of the top courses in the world and it’s no surprise with the route at times takes us alongside this old links. The birdlife is abundant along this stretch of the Manx coastline, so this route is must for spotting various varieties of sea bird and the chance of seeing basking sharks, dolphins or seals playing in the bay. Walking past many sites of interest including the Herring Tower, Derby Fort and Battery on St Michael’s Isle and Hango Hill - the historical site of execution on the island! The walk is approximately 6 miles and gentle on the legs and should take 2/3 hrs, starting and finishing in Castletown, where there is plenty of car parking space and the bus route stops in the heart of the town. Castletown railway station is only a short walk from the start-point, so why not travel from either Port Erin or Douglas on the stream train. The town offers several Manx National Heritage sites to make a full day out!
5. Spanish Head, Chasms and Sugar Loaf Rock
Starting and Finishing in Port Erin this walk, of about 5 miles, is uphill for sections but taken at a leisurely and unhurried pace in not strenuous. The route takes you passed the dark and deep Chasms and Sugarloaf Rock; a perch for thousands of nesting seas birds. The views to the Calf of Man are breath-taking from Spanish Head and it’s a perfect opportunity to see and contemplate all this wonderful island has to offer. Passing through Cregneash, a Manx National Heritage site, and a living illustration of the traditional ways of Manx rural life from bygone times. It’s well worth a stop off on route to explore the thatched cottages and Victorian farming equipment. The views from Mull Hill halfway along the route are an excellent vantage point to Port Erin, Fleshwich and Corrins Folly on Peel Hill of a clear bay. Port Erin is easily accessible by bus and steam train and offers some splendid refreshments, especially the ice cream, after your exhilarating and rewarding walk.
The island has a huge variety of short, manageable, and relaxed walks for all abilities and are best explored with a knowledge guide who can take you to the best viewpoints explaining about the flora and fauna along the way whatever the season.
The walks and routes are endless and best explored with a guide who can safely and expertly lead you and your group to show off this hidden gem that is the ‘Jewel in the Irish Sea’. Walking.im are fully qualified and accredited within the industry. Working many of the island tourism partners they can ensure you enjoy some memorable walks to get the absolute best out of your visit to the Isle of Man.
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