Isle Of Wight Coastal Path : Brighstone To Shanklin
||Derelict Atherfield Holiday Park
We awoke and used the decent facilities at the camp site, then packed up the tent. After a slightly naff breakfast (the stove didn't want to actually make things hot!) we decided to explore the neighbouring Atherfield holiday camp which has been abandoned since 2007 having had a brief moment of fame in 2005 when Channel 4 used it as the set for reality TV series “Wakey Wakey Campers”. No, I dont remember it either.
Obviously trespassing is bad and you shouldn't do it - but there are no fences or warning signs of any sort so if you were to (accidentally, of course!) wander in you will find large quantities of broken glass, a series of chalets in various states of decay, an eerily still swimming pool and a bar/entertainment area that has been converted into a makeshift skate park presumably by the local youth. Nature is thriving here and is gradually reclaiming the site with many of the chalets having ferns where carpets once were, we even spotted an adult adder in the long grass.
||Looking West Over Blackgang Chine
||The Southern Tip At St Catherines Point
A gradual ascent now leads past various chines, some being of impressive proportions, to the most famous one at Blackgang. Blackgang Chine is the name of the UKs oldest theme park that has famously been moved inland due to coastal erosion which is averaging a rate of 3.5m per year here. The actual Chine itself was, in 1800, a spectacular steep ravine about 500 feet deep and ¾ mile long but is now no more.
We had neither the cash nor the inclination to go in but were slightly dissapointed that there were no refreshment facilities on the outside, it does however look like a good day out for young ones. From here a very steep staircase rises to the East, then a couple of miles of flat walking takes you to a vantage point above the lighthouse at the most Southerly point of the Isle Of Wight, St Catherines point.
||St Catherines Point Looking West
||Ancient And Modern On St Catherines Hill
There is a noticeable change of scenery as we continue, large trees and wooded areas appear for the first time since the North of the island. Just after this be sure to take a short diversion into the small town of Niton where the local Post Office doubles up as a cafe where we stopped and thoroughly enjoyed lunch in their beautiful garden. For the more boozily inclined there is also a pub across the road.
After eating we set off towards St Lawrence where there is a great viewpoint just before the descent from the cliff top where you can look back and see three stages of lighthouse, one being the modern one at St Catherines point, the other 2 being rather more ancient and much less useful as they were located on the apparently very foggy St Catherines Hill.
|A Bench With A View
||Waverley Off Ventnor
A steep descent takes you to St Lawrence with its ancient church and beautiful houses situated by the Undercliff area, the largest single area of landslipped land in Western Europe, which runs 8 miles from Blackgang in the West to Luccombe Bay in the East. Shortly we come across Ventnor Botanic Gardens which lead to Castle Cove, home to the “world famous” crab pasties. Unfortunately we arrive 20 minutes after the shop closes much to our dissapointment – we will have to return one day.
After passing through Ventnor there is much ascent and descent through woodland before arriving at the outskirts of Shanklin where we saw our one and only red squirrel of the week. Walking up the seafront we found signposts to the station from where old London Underground trains now run to the Pier Head at Ryde. A short walk from there is the Lower Hyde Holiday Park which accommodated us for the night.
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