I have recently finished walking the English coast. This blog is meant as a help/guide for someone doing the same thing.I hope to complete all the posts within the next 6 months. Go to the archive of past months and years to access all previous posts. Composite, rather amateurish photos are on the early walks as I had not acquired a digital camera. Any corrections of errors/ additional facts gratefully received. Enjoy the coast!
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Walk 101 Isle of Wight - Brighstone to Alum Bay
of Wight- Brighstone to Alum Bay
(Second leg of
English coastal walk – Broadstairs to Lands End)
Map: L/R 196
Distance: 13 miles or 20 km. approx.
Terrain: mainly footpaths
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: A little tricky but possible with buses
from Brighstone to Alum Bay changing at Totland.
The coastal path continues from Brighstone and runs parallel
to the main road. Hopefully, there will be no further damage to the cliffs that
necessitate walking along the road. From Brook Bay there is a good view of
Hanover Point with its white cliffs and Compton Bay beyond. This area is famous
for evidence of dinosaurs including the discovery of iguanodon footprints fossilised
in the mud. This part of the coast is preserved by the National Trust.
Shippard Chine is crossed by a small footbridge and a
further one at Compton Chine. The next main feature is Freshwater Bay. This is
a picturesque cove overlooked by a hotel (with a bar!). The nearby village of
Freshwater was the birthplace of Robert Hooke the famous physicist.
There is a climb out of Freshwater Bay on to Tennyson Down
with its distinctive monument. This is dedicated to Lord Tennyson(1809-1892) who lived near Freshwater from
1853 to 1868. It stands 482 feet above sea level and the air here was described
by Tennyson in one of his poems as worth ‘sixpence a pint’.The views from here are impressive.
Continue the walk around to the Needles. The iconic,
instantly recognisable, view of the rocks is seen best from Alum Bay or Needles Old Battery. The latter, now owned
by the National Trust is worth a visit. It is a fort from the 19th
century and was also used in both World Wars. Exhibitions in the fort explain
its history and there is an underground tunnel which leads to a lookout.
Continue around to Alum Bay. A chair lift down to the beach is the best way to view the banded sandstone cliffs. These have more than 20
colours ranging from chocolate brown to strawberry pink. It is now prohibited
to take sand from the beach or cliffs. However, glass containers with samples
can be bought from the cliff-top shop.
At the top of the cliff there is a small amusement park with
cafes etc. A memorial near to the chairlift marks the site of the Needles
Wireless Telegraph Station. Marconi and his British collaborators carried out a
series of important experiments from here between 1897 and 1900. In 1899
information for the first newspaper produced at sea was transmitted from this
spot - to the ‘St Paul’ which was 36 miles away at the time.
Snaps show: Freshwater Bay looking east; the rocks at Alum Bay; The Needles from the battery; the chair lift at Alum Bay; Freshwater looking west; a cannon at Needles Battery.