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The Needles, Isle of Wight

The history of the Isle of Wight dates back to the Iron Age, with much evidence of settlement being discovered through archaeology and ancient structures which still stand today.ย 

The Needles History
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The Battery

This military battery was built in 1861 to 1863, and its purpose was to protect the West end of the Solent and defend against the enemy ships.

How did the rocks get there name?

Originally, there were four rocks. The name the Needles comes from the fourth rock, which was needle-shaped and known as โ€˜Lotโ€™s Wifeโ€™.

“But Lotโ€™s wife, who was behind him, began to look back, and she became a pillar of salt.” – Genesis 19v26, (JW.org)

Sadly, that 4th pillar fell down in 1764, and the collapse was that great, it is said that it was felt in Portsmouth, on the other side of the Island and over The Solent.

These unusually vertical rocks are a result of heavy folding of chalk. The remaining stacks are of very hard chalk that is resistant to erosion.

(Source)

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The Chair lift

They have a chair lift to take you down to the beach at the bottom of the cliff, here they have boat rides available to the base of the needles. They can range from a 15 minute ride or 20.



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Danes Dyke

Danes Dyke is a nature reserve in Yorkshire, known for the wildlife that are here and the fantastic pebble beach.

The coastline here is so special it is actually a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest and its seabird colonies mark it as a Special Protection Area.

Where does it get its name from?

“Danes Dyke Local Nature Reserve acquires its name from the ancient ditch and bank earthwork, which runs through the reserve. Danes Dyke runs for 4km across the whole of the Flamborough Headland, from the nature reserve here in the south to Cat Nab on the Bempton Cliffs in the north. It consists of two constructed features, a flat-topped bank and a west-facing ditch. The bank was constructed from earth, stacked turfs and chalk rubble, much of which would have come from the ditch. Undoubtedly constructed as a defensive feature, it would have posed a formidable barrier, topped with a wooden palisade fence.” – DykesWeb

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It has as really cute pebble beach with red seaweed that always reminds me of the War of the Worlds film with Tom Cruise.

The woodland is also very pretty but also quiet, and peaceful.


Steam Railways

We were on holiday on the Isle of Wight not long ago and were taken to a a place called Ryde. Here, they have a fully functional steam railway!

The steam railway is only 5 miles long, which is only a small fraction of the once stretched over 55 miles long.

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How did it all begin?

The railway first opened in 1862 between Cowes and Newport. However, it was not until 1900 that the island received its second railway and the rail complex was complete.

Sadly after 2 world wars, their economic status was questioned and as a result lines to Bembridge, Freshwater and the very last line opened to Ventnor, all closed. This was in 1950.

Just 15 years later, the lines between Cowes, Ventnor to Ryde were the ones now under threat. But by now, this line was unique and was becoming a tourist attraction for fascinated historians. There was interest from several parties trying to protect was was left.

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Ron Strutt

(His Obituary)

Who is he? Well when he was a teenager, he’d tried to buy one of the old Island engines from British Rail but sadly hadn’t succeeded. He didn’t give up as he saw how important it was.

“Ron and friend Iain Whitlam called a meeting in south London during late โ€™65 to gather interest from like minded people in possibly preserving something of the old Island railways.”

Official steam railway website

Whitlam coined the name Wight Locomotive Society. They agreed to try and secure at least one ex London & South Western Railway O2 class engine and possibly a carriage or few.

The line from Cowes to Ryde remained open until February 1966 and only part of the Ventnor route, that from Shanklin to Ventnor itself closed in April the same year.

If you would like to read more about the history, please click the following link to learn more.


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