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Isle of Wight   Taken August 2000

 

 

Alum Bay & The Needles         

 Blackgang Chine              

 Freshwater

 

   

800Alum009_28.JPG (132630 bytes)

By climbing up the perimeter fence of the Alum Bay theme park, a fine view of both the bay and The Needles is possible. The contrast between the soft sands in the foreground and the more resistant chalk cliffs is continually evident.

 

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A wide shot of the Needles peninsula, again from the perimeter of the theme park.

 

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A zoom shot of The Needles from the top of the cliffs, again looking west.

 

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The eroded sands of Alum Bay, with the massive intrusive machinery of the chair lift on the skyline, the gullied footpath, and the bottom station on the narrow beach.  The next photo gives a clue as to why the cliff to the left is well vegetated compared with those to the right.

 

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The precariously tight fit of the bottom station of the chair lift. Proof that drift is occurring!  Has the chairlift to the famous sands contributed to the increased speed at which they are eroding?

 

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A view to the north, along Alum Bay, and the mainland on the horizon. Mid-way along the beach is a warning sign for cliff-falls and the multi-coloured sand section.

 

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A close -up from the previous photograph, showing the warning sign, the multi-coloured

sands and the narrowness of the beach.

 

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The sands reveal their full colours only when the sunshine comes to bear upon them.

 

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Alum Bay from the sea, as seen from the 'Round-the-Needles' boat trip.

 

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Alum Bay from above, showing the sands, chair lift and boat pier for the pleasure cruises.

 

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From the boat, on the way to The Needles, a massive cliff collapse  down the full height of the chalk becomes apparent.

 

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A close-up of this event, showing some wave erosion of the base of the cliff fall.

 

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Another shot, square-on, of the cliff fall, showing the height of the cliff compared with the full altitude of the chalk peninsula.

 

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A wide shot of The Needles

 

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The Needles are really very sharply-defined sea stacks!

 

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The last group of The Needles with the famous lighthouse.

 

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At this time the lighthouse was being re-wired for electrical supply. The previous installation had been snagged by boats' lines and so a new supply, buried in a trench, was being laid.

 

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A very wide shot of The Needles, the lighthouse and the jack-up rig of the contractors.

 

 

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800Needles028_NR.JPG (112771 bytes)

The end of the mainland, with a legacy of defence establishment installations, and at the very extremity, a nineteenth-century fort, now owned and run by the National Trust - charges levied! The whole promontory is owned by the NT, but access is free elsewhere.

 

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Tourist access to The Needles is along the cliff-top road from the leisure complex at Alum Bay.

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In summer an open-topped bus is the best way to see the scenes on a fine day. The service connects with Freshwater and Yarmouth, and thence the rest of the island.

 

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All together; the chalk upland, The Needles, the fort (now used as a museum) and the open-topped bus!

 

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Looking along the top of the serrated chalk cliffs to the west and The Needles.

 

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In bright sunshine the chalk seems to glow. This area, at the end of the bus route, has a concrete roadway through to the south side of the peninsula, which is  much worked over, in the 1950's as a rocket-testing establishment - a choice of location that today would be completely unacceptable.

 

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The sheer chalk cliffs on the south side.

 

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In the harsh light the chalk dominates the scene, but noteworthy is the small beach and the streamer of chalk being washed offshore by the sea.

 

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A close-up of The Needles from this high viewpoint on the south coast of the peninsula, where a safe viewing area has been created.

 

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1:50,000 map of Alum Bay & The Needles

Streetmap on Needles

 

 

Blackgang Chine

 

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A wide view of the huge cliff at Blackgang Chine. Erosion is very active, and in this view can be seen a number of coastal processes. 

 

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A closer look at the area of the upper cliff, to the west of the theme park, from its western boundary. The marquee for Chale Show is a good landmark.

Below the cliff-top, where cliff retreat is evident, huge rotational slumps have pushed forward sands and clays towards the free face of the cliff.

 

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The greys clays and some sand flows mark the cliff-face, at the foot of which a massive graveyard of slumped material lies, wet and mobile, with even a lake of sand-coloured seepage water on top.

 

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The beach backs onto a low cliff of landslide material, with occasional mudslide tracks racing across the sand. Both these tracks and the slumps behind will not resist high tides for long. 

 

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The dramatic fall-away of active cliff-erosion at Blackgang Chine theme park.

 

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The theme park ends abruptly with a wattle fence and a view of lost foundations, undercut concrete, and a number of properties coming into the risk zone.

 

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Debris and failed buildings about to be consumed by the cliff line. 

 

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Workmen clearing up the mess and removing debris about to be lost to the slip. This cycle of retreat and consolidation for the park owners must be a constant concern.

 

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Steetmap on Blackgang

 

 

Freshwater

 

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To the east of Freshwater Bay the A 3055 road has to climb above a high chalk cliff that leads to Compton Down. In the distance are the clays and sands that eventually rise to form the high cliffs at Blackgang Chine.

 

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A close-up view of the cliff at Compton Down and the wave-cut platform exposed at low tide.

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The chalk stacks to the east of Freshwater Bay, looking towards Tennyson Down.

 

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As above, but here the wave is still coming in and a small beach can be observed.

 

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A zoom-in of the beach area on this headland. Undercutting of the chalk, by wave action, and the start of cave formation can be seen

 

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Guarding the approach to Freshwater Bay, this stack is one of several reminders of the old coastline. The embayment at Freshwater lies between this stack and the low cliff opposite.

 

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Wide shot of the Freshwater stacks in evening light

 

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At low water the wave-cut platform is seen clearly. At the camera's location the land is rising rapidly towards Tennyson Down, looking towards Freshwater.

 

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Freshwater Bay from the fracturing zone of chalk cliff on Tennyson Downs.

 

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Looking east from Tennyson Down towards Compton Down in the east.

 

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Another view of the Freshwater coast.

 

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A crack or fissure developing on Tennyson Down, looking east towards Freshwater Bay. As has happened on the north side of the chalk ridge, the cliff is quite capable of fracturing a sliver of chalk down the full height of the cliff.

 

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A new slip zone is just starting to develop. It is indicated by a slight depression and the greener, more lush grass that grows in deeper soil formed in the crevice.

 

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Streetmap  on Freshwater

 

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