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Sea Shanty Sing Out Planned for New Carnival’s Crossing the Bar Festival

New Carnival will stage a three-day programme of walks and community arts events on the Island this weekend, highlighting the Tennyson Heritage Coast – and celebrating ‘2023 National Year of the Coast’.

The Tennyson Heritage Coast runs along the south west coast of the Island, starting from St Lawrence in the east to end at Totland Bay. It is noted for its unspoilt beauty, biodiversity and rich cultural heritage.

Over the weekend of 9/10/11 June, 12 varied walks ranging from 1.5 to 28 miles are taking place, all enhanced by colourful handmade flags and short performances presented by local arts groups. The walking weekend represents the culmination of a 6-week community education and learning project, involving heritage and nature experts, schoolchildren, adult volunteers, and local artists.

Crossing the Bar is supported by the IW Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Arts Council England.

A grand Sing Out is planned for the launch of the walks programme which will take place at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on Friday 9 June at 12.30pm. Over 850 schoolchildren will perform a series of traditional and re-imagined sea shanties to send walkers on their way. 

Crossing the Bar, now in its third year, is celebrating and promoting the new National Trail - The England Coast Path – (soon to be known as The King Charles III Path) due to be completed by late 2024. When fully open, the path will be the longest managed coastal footpath in the world at 2,800 miles. Isle of Wight section will make up around 80 miles of that, and will arguably represent one of the most varied and spectacular sections.

Frankie Goldspink, director Creative Ways Outdoors working on behalf of New Carnival said ‘We are very proud of our heritage coasts and really want to shout about that. Working with artists and wildlife experts we have explored themes and created artworks with young people which reflect that pride of place, which we now want to share with everyone in our free walking programme’

You can walk along any section of the Heritage Coast over the weekend, mix and match your programme, or do the whole walk at almost 28 miles. All the walks are free to join!

The linear walks MUST be pre-booked (restricted numbers), and it may be possible to arrange lifts back to the start point, by prior arrangement.

Why ‘Crossing the Bar’?

The project is named after a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson written in 1889 whilst he was crossing the Solent to his home at Farringford. The literal ‘bar’ he refers to is a sandbar (or spit) which forms part of the Island’s heritage coastline. Penned three years before his death, he uses ‘crossing the bar’ as a metaphor for his own passing, contemplating the afterlife. Young people chose the project’s title to represent their hopes for the future of the planet (life after) following the devastating impacts of Covid. Tennyson was a keen walker, with a great fondness for nature as well as the creative arts, and this project celebrates that connection.

Crossing the Bar programme of walks (all distances approximate)

Stage 1. Ventnor Botanic Garden to Niton. Friday afternoon 9 June

  • Linear Walk starts 1.30pm from Ventnor Botanic Garden, 4.5 miles
  • Short Circular Walk starts 1.30pm Ventnor Botanic Garden, 2 miles

Stage 2. Niton to Whale Chine, Chale. Saturday morning 10 June

  • Linear Walk starts 10am from The Buddle Inn, Niton, 5.5 miles
  • Short Circular Walk starts 10am Buddle Inn, Niton, 2 miles

Stage 3. Whale Chine, Chale to Brighstone. Saturday afternoon 10 June

  • Linear Walk starts 1pm from Whale Chine, 5 miles
  • Short Circular Story Walk starts 2pm from Brighstone Warnes Lane car park, 1.5 miles
  • Long Circular Walk starts 12pm from Brighstone Warnes Lane car park, 8 miles

Stage 4. Brighstone to Freshwater Bay. Sunday morning 11 June

  • Linear Walk starts 9.30am from Brighstone Warnes Lane car park, 6.5 miles

Stage 5. Freshwater Bay to Totland Bay. Sunday afternoon 11 June

  • Linear Walk starts 1pm from Freshwater Bay, 5.5 miles
  • Short Circular Story Walk starts 1pm from Freshwater Bay, 1.5 miles
  • Long Circular Walk starts Turf Walk, Totland at 12pm
  • Short Circular Walk starts Turf Walk, Totland at 2.30pm, 2 miles

There’s more information about all of these FREE walks at:

Or contact Alison at New Carnival for more details:

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