Bradda Head and Milner’s Tower

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2019

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Travelled with

Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

The bulk Bradda Head raising 382’ above sea level dominates the view from Port Erin and shelters the bay from northerly winds.

At the top is Milner’s Tower which was erected in 1871 in the memory of local philanthropist William Milner, a wealthy Birkenhead safe maker who had retired to Port Erin. Although the tower was intended as a surprise, Milner found out about it and did in fact donate much of the building costs. He set up a number of charities to help local residents and particularly poverty stricken fishermen.The tower is said to resemble the key to one of his safes.

It is a popular walk from Port Erin, especially along the coast following the cliff path signed off Spaldrick just before Traie Meanagh Drive.

This runs above the remains of “Traeth Meanagh Swimming Baths”: which opened in 1899 and was advertised as the largest sea baths in Britain. It was also unusual as it allowed mixed bathing and this was still a selling point until the 1930s. The sea water was refreshed daily. In the 1960s, there were galas held on Wednesday afternoons with swimming events, diving beauty contests and childrens games. The baths closed in 1981 and is now looking very run down.

The path continues round the top of the secluded Spaldrick beach, with overgrown footpaths giving access to this. This then joins the track down from the archway into Bradda Glen off Bradda East. (This is the easier access for those who may not be so steady on their legs.)

A good track leads past Bradda Glen Cafe which is run by the same people who run the cafe at the Sound and has very good cakes.

There is a network of footpaths up to Bradda Head but no recognised route. As long as you keep heading up you can’t get lost!

I did this as a circular taking the cliff path off to the left by the bend at the end of the cafe car park. This leads to a Manx Wildlife Trust viewing point across the bay and is supposed to be a good place to see basking sharks, although I didn’t see any. The footpath crosses open hillside with bramble, bracken and heather past an old mine adit, before scrambling steeply to the top of Bradda Head.

It is possible to climb the 40 steep steps to the top of Milner’s Tower for superb views of the Calf, Cregneash peninsula, Port St Mary and Port Erin with the Langness Peninsula and the characteristic tower of St William’s College in the far distance. Unfortunately being distance views they look better than they photograph! This is also a good place to see and hear choughs.

For the return, I followed the wide grassy track (Raad ny Foillan coastal walk) down the slope to a footpath through the trees which dropped down some steps to the road just beyond the cafe car park. From here it is signed ‘Coronation Footpath. For anyone who struggles with climbing, this is definitely the easier route.

This makes an excellent half day walk and can be “extended”: by following Raad ny Foillan the well marked grassy track which continues round the cliffs before dropping steeply down into Fleshwick Bay and back along the road to Port erin.

There is a good map of Port erin showing footpaths onto Bradda head on page 2 “here.”: here.

You can find all my pictures and information about the Isle of Man “here.”:


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