Newest Review: ... within the chine, one being approximately 45ft. This one is one of the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever seen, and looked w... more
Shanklin Chine (Shanklin)
Member Name: magenta23
Shanklin Chine (Shanklin)
Advantages: Beautiful and relaxing with some great history
Disadvantages: I had to leave.
Our visit to Shanklin Chine was one of my favourite afternoons spent on the Isle of Wight. Situated between Shanklin Village and beach, it's a real tranquil spot, like being in another world. We stumbled across it almost by accident. Walking from the beach along the cliff top to the town we came across the opening and I remembered my mum telling me in we stay in Shanklin it's a must see. We went on a Monday afternoon, and whilst there were a few people it was quiet enough to hold onto it's peaceful atmosphere.
The Isle of Wight has many chines, Shanklin being the second largest and Blackgang being the largest and probably most famous has become something of a theme park. The word 'chine' is now only used on the Isle of Wight and in Dorset. It is of Saxon origin and means a deep narrow ravine, formed by water cutting through soft sandstone leading to the sea.
It's very hard to explain exactly what this place is like, and the magical atmosphere contained within it. I know that seems like a bit of a cop out, but if you have been there you will now exactly what I mean. It's a little like being in a enchanted forest from another world. When you first enter, it feels like walking into tropical gardens, then the path twists and turns following up steep hills and over bridges until you get to the top looking out of the chine, with beautiful views over the sea, and inside the chine, 2 waterfalls, the larger is 45ft high and I could have watched it for hours.
There is a huge range of plant life for those garden fanatics out there, for me though I loved the wildlife it attracts. There are many species of wild birds flying about, they seemed quite used to people wandering through and we got some really good views of a Jay who seemed to follow us as we walked around. Famously, the Isle of Wight is one of the few places left to find Red Squirrels and we were told that they are regularly spotted in the Chine, though unfortunately we didn't see any the day we visited.
In addition to the wildlife, there are some aviaries dotted around the lower parts of the chine, housing Rosellas, cockatiels, budgies and phesants among others. There was even a cage of chipmunks.
Aside from the sheer beauty of the place, there is some very interesting history to this attraction. The guide book I bought here was unusual to most in that I read it from cover to cover. There are stories of it being used during the French invasion of the island when Henry VIII's ship the Mary Rose sank and the galley captain was killed here, though this is more myth that fact. It also has stories of being an old smugglers haunt as a tunnel linked the chine and the old village. Wandering around it, I could imagine all those sort of goings on. The chine wasn't opened to the public, however until 1817 and has provided great inspiration to visitors such as Jane Austen and Keats to name a few.
Apart from the natural beauty and stories I have already mentioned there is another interest from history lovers here. Some of the 'Pipeline under the Ocean' or P.L.U.T.O can still be seen at the Chine. P..L.U.T.O was an undersea pipeline laid across the bed of the channel to send petrol to Cherbourg during the Second World War. It is considered as one of the great successes of the war as it was never detected.
Shanklin chine is very reasonable to get into, £3.80 for adults and £2.00 for kids. It provides a good hours gentle amble or make it a longer stay if you want to watch the birds or visit the gorgeously situated tea rooms.
I wish we had time to go back again in the evening as they open the place after dark and light it up. I can imagine this would be very pretty and want to go back sometime to do the chine by night!
Overall, I really do recommend this a place to visit if you are on the island and fancy a little bit of peace and quiet.
Summary: A must see attraction, a change from the tacky tourist stuff.
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