The lovely Isle of Wight is a microcosm of the English landscape at its most typical. The island is just 22 miles long and 13 miles wide and is easily accessible by ferry from various points on the mainland. The mildness of the climate makes it the ideal holiday destination where much of the island has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This impression of the island is at Ventnor
Across the Solent to Cowes
COWES is a famous yachting centre and headquarters of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Prince Albert designed Queen Victoria's beloved Osborne House in the 1840's. The Queen died at the Italianate house overlooking the Solent in 1901.
RYDE is a popular seaside resort on the north east coast overlooking
BRADING to the east, is one of the oldest settlements on the island. A nearby Roman Villa is one of the finest Roman sites in the UK.
The Old Town Hall is now a museum. The ground level contains the old lock-up, stocks and whipping post.
This preserved metal bull ring reminds us of the barbarous sport which was enacted until it was abolished in the early 19th century. It is said that the Governor of the Isle of Wight would donate 5 guineas for the bull which was then tethered to the ring and baited by dogs. The bull's meat was later donated to the poor of the town.
The Hare & Hounds is a thatched pub in Downend Road on nearby ARRETON DOWN and has a micabre connection to a local murder. Close by is the curiously named Burnt House Lane and also a Bronze Age barrow known as Morey’s Hump. In 1736, an elderly woodcutter called Michael Morey lived in an old cottage, in what is now called Burnt House Lane, with his grandson James who was 14 years of age. In June of that year, the boy’s dismembered body was found concealed in leather bags in nearby woods together with a billhook and bloodstained gloves. Morey had set fire to his cottage and absconded. He was subsequently arrested and convicted of the murder at Winchester and executed. His body was hung in chains from a gibbet which was erected on the barrow at Arreton. The gibbet cost the parish £6 and it was later sold to the landlord of the Hare & Hounds to recover some of the cost. The 22 foot upright was used as a beam in the pub tap room.
ARRETON is an interesting old village and the church is of Norman origin.
The churchyard contains the grave of Elizabeth Wallbridge, the eponymous heroine in 'The Dairyman's Daughter', a best selling book by Rev. Legh Richmond
An added attraction in the village is The Arreton Barns Craft Village in a collection of old farm buildings where many bygones are preserved.
Apart from a variety of retails outlets and tearoom the buildings also contain a pub called The Dairyman's Daughter which is a showpiece of old memorabilia.
SHANKLIN is a popular resort on the east coast and the town is separated from the seaside by steep cliffs. The promenade is accessed by a steep dead end road but is readily reached via a cliff lift or footpaths down the incline.
The fine promenade is flanked by a sandy beach with safe bathing water on the English Channel.
During WW11 the invasion of Normandy took a huge amount of forward planning to get the invasion troops, vehicles and supplies across the English Channel. Land arrangements were largely satisfied by floating huge piers across the channel to construct the temporary Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches. Another important logistic was the supply of fuel and this was solved by operation PLUTO (pipeline under the ocean). A pipeline was laid across the 70 miles of channel from Shanklin to Cherbourg enabling one million gallons of fuel to be pumped daily. The place where the pipeline started can be seen on the promenade at Shanklin and a section of the pipe can be seen in neaby Shanklin Chine where it has been preserved.
At the end of the promenade and at the foot of Shanklin Chine, there is a charming thatched cottage known as The Old Fisherman's Cottage which is now a pub.
Chine is the local name for a steep wooded ravine. Shanklin Chine runs steeply down to the seashore from the old Shanklin Village. A stream tumbles down the ravine and a footpath carved out in former times by fishermen leads from top to bottom. Now a tourist attraction admission is by a small charge.
Old Shanklin Village has a plethora of charming