* * * * *
The VILLAGE OF CHALE lies at the foot of St. Catharine's Hill, and comprises a considerable number of scattered cottages: none of them however deserving a stranger's notice, except perhaps the Parsonage, and the Abbey-farm-house; the latter covered with the most luxuriant ivy.
If the visitor be on his return to Newport, he will within three miles of it pass GATCOMBE, a small village, and a first rate seat: exhibiting altogether perhaps the most charming inland scenery in the Isle of Wight:—
"Sweet are its groves, and verdant are its fields."
The mansion is a large square edifice, extremely well-situated,—in front a fine lawn falls with an easy slope, shaded by many noble oaks and elms: and immediately behind rises a steep hill luxuriantly clothed with hanging plantations. At a short distance from the house is a small lake; and near the latter, the neat little parish-church, and the Parsonage, both beautifully embosomed in wood.
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THE ROAD TO FRESHWATER-GATE.
>> From Chale to the celebrated Cliff's of Freshwater is about twelve miles; the first eight of which are through an agricultural district, presenting only so many agreeable pictures of rural life,—and of these the principal are SHORWELL, NORTHCOURT, and BRIXTON.
"A simple scene! yet hence Brittannia sees Her solid grandeur rise."
The fact is, the greater part of the soil is so extremely fertile, as to be employed in tillage and meadow, almost to the exclusion of woods and coppice, which constitute the chief ornaments of a landscape. We have, however, nearly the whole of the journey such a charming view of the ocean, as to compensate for the deficiency of sylvan beauties.
* * * * *
After passing a small church called KINGSTON, posted on a knoll, and surrounded by a few trees which bespeak their bleak exposure, we reach ...
A considerable village, about four miles from Chale, and five from Newport; it stands charmingly sheltered in a curve of the downs with a southern aspect; has a pretty church; and boasts of the finest old mansion in the island, called NORTHCOURT, built in the reign of James I. This venerable pile has lately been thoroughly repaired: a necessary operation by the bye that has stripped it for a few years of its greatest ornament—the rich drapery of ivy which invested its lofty gray walls and pinnacles: hills, clothed with hanging woods and plantations, rise boldly around it; many of the oaks and pines, luxuriating in a fertile soil and genial climate, are uncommonly fine: the grounds too are embellished with a rustic temple, and a very elegant mausoleum to the memory of Miss Bull, the daughter of a former owner,—the whole scene indeed is replete with architectural and sylvan beauties. There are in the neighbourhood two other ancient manorial residences, named Westcourt and Woolverton, now converted into farm-houses: and the cottages of Shorwell are remarkable for their neatness and comfortable appearance, as well as for the abundant display of creepers and flowering shrubs with which most of them are adorned.
Two miles further on we enter BRIXTON, a populous village in the heart of a rich tract of cultivation: is one mile from the shore, and screened from the north by a range of lofty downs. The Church is rather spacious, and not unpicturesque; many of the cottages are neat, some few furnished for lodgings: and there is a comfortable small inn. This place is commonly called Brison, and one clergyman names it Brightstone.
MOTTISTONE succeeds: a pretty hamlet nearly shrouded in wood, with a very picturesque church. On an elevated part of the farm are the remains of some small druidical temple called LONGSTONE, which is a rude piece of rock of a quadrangular figure, evidently erected by art, and rears itself about twelve feet above the ground; near it another large stone lies partly buried in the earth, of not less than eight feet long.
BROOK is the last village we pass till we reach Freshwater: much the same character as the others: the Mansion-house, which is surrounded with wood, being the only object to notice, besides the little church, which we shall presently pass, posted solitarily on an eminence near the foot of the down.
* * * * *
THE WESTERN QUARTER OF THE ISLAND, DISTINGUISHED
* * * * *
The Road over the Downs from Brooke to Freshwater-gate.
We shall now leave the familiar scenes of cultivation and of village life for a time, to enjoy the charms of unbounded prospect, as we journey for four miles over a succession of pasturing downs, where in many parts our road will be upon a natural carpet of the finest turf.
Tasteless indeed must be those who can travel over these lofty and beautiful downs, without experiencing the most lively gratification from the checquered and magnificent prospects which invite their contemplation on every side: but to enjoy the pleasure in perfection we must occasionally pause, to discriminate (by reference to a friend or a map,) some of the more remarkable features.—Looking to the westward, the high cliffs of Freshwater stretch away in a noble promontory of three miles, forming the foreground to the soft azure perspective of the coast of Dorset: but to the north, so diversified is the extensive landscape with towns and villages, hills, woods, forests, sea, and river, as to mock our most ardent wishes to convey even a faint idea of the grandeur of the composition.
Another source of no inconsiderable pleasure, when traversing these beautiful downs,—soaring as it were in the higher regions—is feeling that we actually breathe the purest atmosphere, so exhilarating to the human frame. Nor is the reverse of this desirable clearness of the weather without its share of amusement—to witness the formation of clouds, as the vapors are drawn up from the sea, and gradually condensed; rolling by, and enveloping us in their misty volumes. It is true indeed, that these exhibitions are not without danger to the traveller, lest he unwarily approach too near the fatal precipice: but this circumstance imposing the necessity of caution, excites an interest—and interest is the very zest of adventure. [Footnote: Near the edge of the cliffs about half a mile eastward of Freshwater-gate, a small tablet has lately been erected, to commemorate the unfortunate fate of a youth who slipped over and perished on the rocks beneath.—Some years ago two successive keepers of the Needles Light-house lost their lives in a similar manner over the precipices on which that establishment is located.]
In short, whether for the splendor of the prospects, the refreshing purity of the air, or the novelty of literally walking in the clouds, we esteem the journey over these downs, as pleasurable as any portion of the tour.
We shall now suppose the Visitor to be descending the last down, and in a few minutes, walking on the beach—here to commence his examination of ...
THE FRESHWATER CLIFFS.
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"Suspended cliffs, with hideous sway, Seem nodding o'er the caverns gray."
>>Several romantic CAVERNS near Freshwater-gate: the Needles LIGHT-HOUSE—and the wonderfully COLORED SANDS of Alum Bay, are accessible without taking boat: the celebrated NEEDLE ROCKS are seen (though not to advantage,) from the down and beach: but the GRAND ARCH, the WEDGE-ROCK, and several deep CAVERNS and other curiosities of Rock-scenery, can be viewed only by water, which is extremely desirable in calm weather.
* * * * *
THE WHITE CLIFFS OF ALBION is so favorite a poetical designation of the English coast, that it is with some degree of pride we hail our "sea-girt isle" as surpassing in the magnificence and splendor of this characteristic, every other part of the kingdom; for even Shakspeare's cliff at Dover, immortalized as it is by the pen of the bard himself, is little more than half the elevation of some of the chalk precipices of the Isle of Wight,—which, at Freshwater, rise from the bosom of the blue ocean with a perpendicular face of the most dazzling whiteness, the sublime altitude of more than 600 feet!—being nearly one-half higher than the pinnacles either of St. Paul's or Salisbury Cathedrals.
A stranger from the inland districts, who may never have seen a precipice upon a grander scale than is presented by the sides of some deep chalk-pit, would be at a loss to imagine wherein consisted the BEAUTY and the INTEREST of such seemingly monotonous scenes; especially when informed that they are indebted to no borrowed ornament from either tree or shrub: and indeed it would prove equally difficult on our part to furnish a comprehensive definition. One eminent writer enthusiastically eulogises their appearance as "singularly elegant when viewed at a proper distance; and with the Needle Rocks, constituting a whole that is scarcely to be equalled:"—another declares that "the most lofty and magnificent fabrics of Art, compared with these stupendous works of Nature, sink in idea to Lilliputian size:"—and a third, that "the towering precipices of Scratchell's Bay are of the most elegant forms;" and "the pearly hue of the chalk is beyond description by words, probably out of the power even of the pencil."
* * * * *
As almost every visitor has a card of all the local curiosities presented to him by some of the boatmen of the place, it would be useless here to describe individually the several objects deserving personal observation: we shall therefore confine our notice to a few of the most prominent,—commencing at ...
Remarkable for the brilliancy as well as beauty of the surrounding promontories, of which an enchanting view is presented as we descend from the downs. The outline of the precipices is here extremely bold, forming several charming little coves or bays, and penetrated at the base by numerous deep CAVERNS of the most romantic formation, that are exceedingly interesting to visitors when explored. But what contributes most to the picturesque character of the scenery is the presence of several immense isolated rocks of grotesque shape, that rise from 30 to 60 feet above the sea. Two of these will particularly attract attention, namely, the Arched, and the Deer-pound, [Footnote: This name was given to the rock from the fact, it is said, of a deer having leaped on it from the main land, when closely pursued by the hounds of the late Lord Holmes, about 70 or 80 years ago: at which time the separation could have been but a few yards! Whatever credit may be attached to this anecdote by the reader, it at least serves to show the opinion which the older inhabitants entertain of the progressive waste of land at this part of the coast (the face of the cliffs being constantly exposed to the weather and undermining action of the sea); and we remember it was but a few years back when the top of this same rock was covered with a considerable patch of green sod.] they are the remains of the original cliff, but being composed of more stubborn and adhesive materials, have long resisted the lashing waves and warring elements, while the parent cliffs are constantly receding and forming a wider separation.
Here are two respectable Hotels: the Albion, close to the beach; and Plumbly's, on the cliff: both of which offer to their guests the charm of hearing ...
——"The restless waves that roar, And fling their foam against the rocky shore."
The CAVERN in Freshwater Bay was formerly an object of no little curiosity to those who had never seen any thing similar of a more striking character; but the romantic effect, and consequently interest of the scene has been greatly injured by the fall falling-in of the arched roof. Now, however, visitors can easily investigate other caverns of a similar nature at WATCOMBE BAY (to which a good road has been made from Plumbly's Hotel,) where there is also a pyramidical rock, curiously perforated at the base.
* * * * *
>> A very common way of seeing these precipices is to go by water to Alum Bay, there land, walk up to the Light-house, and return by the beacon: or take boat at Alum Bay, and sail round the Needles or to Freshwater Bay, just as fancy may suggest. Some proceed on foot from Freshwater-gate to the Needles Light-house (about three miles), on the green sod, near the margin of the cliffs: other parties again go round by the carriage-road the whole distance in their vehicles. As, however, the grandest scenes can only be visited by boat, we shall best perform our duty as Cicerone by pointing them out as they appear in an aquatic excursion—that to parties generally affords a degree of elevated pleasure to which nothing else in the island can bear any comparison. Yet should the weather be too rough for this to be enjoyed, the visit to Freshwater may prove not the less interesting: since it is impossible for any spectacle to exceed in sublimity that which is displayed when a storm is raging around the majestic cliffs and vast detached rocks that here encounter the winds and waves of the British Channel:—
"Down bursts the gale—the surges sweep, Like gathering hosts, against the steep, Sheeting, with clouds of snowy spray, Its lofty forehead, old and gray. With sudden shriek and cowering wing, To the wild cliff the sea-birds spring; Careering o'er the darken'd heaven, The clouds in warring heaps are driven; And crested high with lawny foam, Rushes the mighty billow home."
* * * * *
(Another Hotel is situated on the north side of the down, within sight of the Needles, by whose name it is distinguished.)
From Watcombe Bay the precipices continue to increase in height till they reach their greatest elevation (617 feet) at HIGH-DOWN, on which the beacon is erected: they are however less perpendicular here than we shall presently find them; and the more sloping portions are covered by extensive patches of turf, samphire, &c., which vary the pure white of the upright masses, though perhaps the lofty appearance of the whole is thereby rather diminished, at least to a spectator at their base. Amongst the most remarkable objects in this part of the range are NEPTUNE'S CAVE, and LORD HOLMES'S PARLOUR:—the latter, a cavern of considerable height and breadth, derives its name from the nobleman, whose name it bears, having occasionally enjoyed a repast with his friends in the briny coolness of its shade, at least so tradition tells us: it can be easily entered by boat in calm weather: and when viewed from beneath its rough vaulted roof, has certainly a very romantic appearance.
A little further on is the WEDGE-ROCK, a most singular result of accident; being a piece of rock about twelve feet long by six or eight wide, exactly the shape of a wedge, resting between the main cliff and a large mass of detached chalk, just as if fixed there by some gigantic hand to effect the separation. It is often practicable to land here, and it is worth while on the part of the young and active, were it only to be satisfied how extremely deceptive is the appearance of the rocks and broken green ledges, as to their size and extent of surface,—for few would suppose (in passing by,) that the piece near the Wedge-rock contains upwards of an acre of ground.—The pyramidical mass connected with the Wedge is about fifty feet high, and a hundred long at the base.
Our friends will remember (as has been before said,) that we leave the history of many curious rocks and caverns to be given by the local watermen; for personal examination will invest a scene or object with a degree of interest which cannot be felt by the reader, who may have no expectation of ever seeing them.
Passing the OLD PEPPER-ROCK, a picturesque detached mass at the foot of the chalk—we find ourselves under the noble promontory of MAIN-BENCH, where the precipices again rise to upwards, of six hundred feet in height: and being nearly perpendicular, present a truly sublime aspect, viewed either from above or below: while the constant washing of the waves at the lower part, by removing the looser particles of chalk, gives it much the appearance of having been built with vast blocks of masonry. As the water is deep even close to the cliff, and beautifully transparent in calm weather, the reflection on its surface of the crags above, and the sunken rocks and marine plants which appear beneath, must add considerably to the interest of our aquatic excursion. Main-bench terminates in a bold bluff or projecting angle called SUN CORNER; rounding which, we enter ...
SCRATCHELL'S BAY, universally considered by visitors as the most memorable spot on the island coast, alike for the grandeur, beauty, and variety of its scenery. The dazzling whiteness of the chalk is here relieved by thin curving beds of dark flint, which regularly divide it into parallel strata of eight or ten feet thickness; the towering precipices are of the most picturesque shapes; and the Needle Rocks form an inimitable termination to the scene. Just within the bay is the NEEDLES CAVE, the deepest along the whole range, as it penetrates the chalk 300 feet: but the unique feature which above all the rest claims attention is the niche-like recess in the face of the cliff, appropriately designated ...
THE GRAND ARCH;
It indicates little that is remarkable at a distance; but a truly sublime effect is produced when the stranger is placed under its awful roof with his back against the concave chalk: for he then sees above him a magnificent Arch two hundred feet in height and overhanging the beach at least one hundred and eighty!—yet so true, nay, even elegant is the sweep, that it rather resembles the stupendous work of Art, than the casual production of Nature. To form an idea of the sublimity of the scene, the reader should task his memory with the dimensions of some of the proudest architectural monuments in Great Britain: and the comparison would immediately remove all doubt, that a sight of the Arch itself would amply repay the trouble of a visit to Freshwater.
Scratchell's Bay is about half-a-mile in breadth; being formed by Sun Corner and the Grand Arch on the eastern side, and on the west by the
Which stretch out into the sea a considerable distance: they are remains of the original cliff, and forcibly illustrate the destructive power of the ocean's stormy winds and waves, which in successive ages have removed so vast a quantity of the adjacent chalk. Nor are their ravages at all diminished at the present time: for it is only within the last few years that the smallest rock has been completely insulated; while another immense mass of the cliff is evidently separating by degrees, and will probably become ere long entirely detached, forming a magnificent pyramid two or three hundred feet high. It is impossible to convey by verbal description a correct idea of these celebrated rocks: for in passing round or through them, they assume a different shape almost every dozen yards; sometimes appearing like a continuation of the main promontory,—sometimes as one or more lofty acuminated pyramids,—or again we see the different masses extending in nearly a straight line, between which we catch a distant view of Christchurch and other objects on the opposite coast. The name (inappropriate to their present form,) was derived from a spiry rock, 120 feet high and very slender, which fell in the year 1764, having been nearly worn through by the incessant action of the tides: its base however is still visible at low water.
The Pomone, a fifty-gun frigate, was wrecked on the most western of these rocks, on June 11th, 1811, when returning home after an absence of three years; but owing to the fineness of the weather, the crew and passengers, including some Persian princes, reached the shore in safety; and most of her guns and stores were removed before she went to pieces. "The vessel," says Mr. Webster, "afforded me a scale by which to judge of the size of the Needles, and I was surprized to find that the hull of the frigate did not reach one-fourth of their height." The entrance to the Solent Channel "through the Needles" was always considered hazardous for ships of great burthen, not only on account of those rocks, but also of the immense banks of pebbles or "Shingles" that lie to the westward: recent surveys have however ascertained that the channel has sufficient width and depth for the safe passage of the largest ships of war.
The brilliant and novel display of rock scenery which this spot affords, and its being easily accessible either by water or land (for a road leads to it from the north side of the down), cause it to be universally visited by strangers who extend their tour to this quarter of the island. It is bounded on the south by the Needles and the snowy precipices of which they once formed part: but its greatest celebrity is owing to the wonderful diversity and brightness in the cliffs on the opposite side, which are composed of sand, clay, and ochreous earths, disposed in alternate vertical strata: and as the torrents of winter carry away vast masses of the soil, forming numerous deep ravines—an endless variety of the most beautiful peaks and romantic forms are thus produced. The colored strata vary in thickness from a sheet of paper to several yards; are now purely white, black, red, or yellow; then brown, blueish, or dull green,—alternating in a surprizing manner with each other, or blending into every hue: and many of the tints so vivid, yet so delicate, that they are justly compared to the variegations of a tulip, or to the shades of silk. "Alum Bay," says an eminent geologist, "is so extraordinary a place, that I am unable to explain in adequate terms, the surprize I felt on first seeing it. The scenery is indeed of a species unique in this country: and nothing that I had previously seen bore the least resemblance to it." This spot owes its name to the fact of alum having been occasionally found on its shores.
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And now, having pointed out the most remarkable features in the cliffs, it only remains to notice THE LIGHT-HOUSE, which is a gratifying object of curiosity to persons unacquainted with the nature of such an establishment, it stands near the extremity of the down, and commands a prospect of great extent and beauty, particularly of the unrivaled scenery of Alum Bay. The Needles are seen to most advantage from the water: but when this has not been enjoyed, the party should cautiously approach within a few yards of the precipice, "and to those whose nerves are proof against the horrors of the position, the new into the bays beneath, and of the cliffs and Needle Rocks, is extremely sublime. The agitation and sound of the waves below are hardly perceived, and it is scarcely possible to imagine that the quiet expanse which now seems stretched in boundless repose under the eye, is the same turbulent element which had but lately been seen bursting in clouds of foam, and thundering on its rocky shore.—In hard blowing weather, the fury of the wind on this promontory is scarcely credible. Very large flints and fragments of chalk are blown from the cliffs, so as to endanger the windows of the light-house; and for many days in succession, it is scarcely possible to open the door."
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The precipices of Freshwater, like those at Bembridge, are frequented at periodical seasons by prodigious flights of sea-fowl of various kinds. The birds are taken by the country-people at the hazard of their lives; they descend by means of a stout rope which turns round a crow-bar firmly fixed in the ground above; one end of the rope being fastened about their body, and the other end held in their hands, by which they lower and raise themselves from ledge to ledge of the horrid precipice. The aquatic fowl furnish most amusing sport to numberless shooting-parties during the season. The principal species are ... puffins, gulls, cormorants, Cornish choughs, the eider duck, auks, divers, guillemots, razor-bills, widgeons, willocks, daws, starlings, and pigeons. Their breeding-season is in the months of May, June, and July, and towards the end of August the greater part of them migrate with their new generations. Their flesh is too rank and fishy to be eaten, and is used only for baiting crab and lobster pots; the feathers are valuable, and the eggs are bought chiefly by visitors for curiosity.
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THE ROADS TO YARMOUTH, NEWPORT, &c.
>> Having visited the western extremity of the Island, we return—either by CALBOURNE to Newport, which is the nearest; or round by YARMOUTH, this being perhaps the less monotonous road of the two.
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The tourist, on leaving the magnificent scenes of the western coast, can hardly expect to see many spots in the remainder of his journey, capable of engaging his attention. He may still however enjoy some very charming prospects, particularly in the neighbourhood of Yarmouth, whither we shall now suppose him to shape his course.
We shall pass two seats: FARRINGFORD, on the north side of the down, surrounded by flourishing plantations; and about a mile and a half further, the fine old manor-house of AFTON.
THE VILLAGE OF FRESHWATER is prettily interspersed with wood; but except the church (whose front is more picturesque than most in the island), has nothing to notice;—unless it should fortunately happen to be high-tide at the time of our passing, and then the RIVER YAR will have a lovely effect—winding between gently rising banks feathered with grove and copse, shrouding here a mansion, and there a cottage; while pleasure-boats and an unusual number of swans are seen gliding and sporting on its silver bosom.
* * * * *
Passing over a neat bridge, and through the fertile parish of THORLEY, whose church is the plainest in the island, we reach
Standing opposite Lymington, and once a place of considerable importance, having obtained a charter of franchises in the reign of Henry II: it is very clean and open,—and being situated in the neighbourhood of the most interesting coast scenery, is upon the whole an agreeable place, particularly for gentlemen partial to marine pleasures. Its chief support is derived from the shipping that anchor in its excellent roadsted, and the passengers to and from Lymington; there are three inns—the principal one (the George,) is a large ancient building, formerly the Governor's house, where King Charles II was entertained by Sir Rt. Holmes on his paying the island a visit in 1667.—The Church has recently received the ornament of a new tower, and the interior boasts a good statue of the above-named Sir Robert. The Castle (as it is called), is a heavy, plain mass of building, constructed in the reign of Henry VIII to protect this entrance to the Solent Channel.
The village of NORTON is on the opposite side of the river, where there are several very respectable villas,—so sheltered by groves and shrubberies, that the whole neighbourhood presents the delightful appearance of a bold foreland completely shrouded in wood, even to the water's edge.
Opposite Carey's Sconce, half a mile west of Norton, is HURST CASTLE, built at the extremity of a long strip of shingly land stretching out from the Hampshire coast, which here contracts the width of the Solent Channel to less than a mile. Close by are two Light-houses, erected for the purpose of assisting ships to clear the passage through the Needles.
Four miles from Yarmouth we pass through SHALFLEET, a clean and populous village: the Church is next the road, of a heavy construction,—yet affording a good subject for a sketch. Northward is NEWTOWN, a very ancient borough; which was a populous place in the time of Richard II (when it was burned by the French, but soon afterwards rebuilt), and though now reduced to a few humble cottages, the course of its streets may yet be traced. It has a new church, of a neat design; and is noted for its extensive salterns, and convenient haven.—Previously to the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, Yarmouth and Newtown each returned two members to parliament.
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The Road by Calbourne and Carisbrooke.
The direct road from Freshwater-gate to Newport runs for the first three or four miles at the northern foot of the range of downs described at p. 89; presenting no object worthy of separate remark till we reach CALBOURNE, a considerable village, having a decent small inn. The pretty situation of its neat little Church and Parsonage,—the handsome mansion and luxuriant plantations of a first-rate seat called WESTOVER, close by,—with a small stream running through the grounds and in front of the neighbouring cottages,—altogether produce a very pleasing scene ...
"Where sweet simplicity resides, which Grace And Beauty call their own."
Two miles further we pass SWAINSTON, another principal seat: the mansion lies below the road, surrounded by trees; a copious stream, well stored with fish, runs through the gardens and plantations, which are extensive and judiciously laid-out; and the prospect-temple which crowns the hill on the right is a very conspicuous object. From hence the road is on the slope of a series of hills, often picturesquely shrouded in groves and hanging woods; while in the more open parts some extensive views are presented of the north side of the island, the sea, and the opposite coast of Hampshire; but the prospect which is opened as we descend into Carisbrooke is particularly grand: the village makes an admirable foreground, backed by lofty hills,—on the left we see the town of Newport and its adjoining hamlets, with E. Cowes Park, &c. in the distance,—and on the right,
"High o'er the pines, that with their dark'ning shade Surround yon craggy bank, THE CASTLE rears Its crumbling turrets: still its towering head A warlike mien, a sullen grandeur wears!"
* * * * *
LANDMARKS AND OTHER CONSPICUOUS OBJECTS
Erected on the Hills.
* * * * *
The fact of so many of the hills and downs being crowned with some far-seen object, such as a light-house, obelisk, or telegraph, must be a source of considerable interest to a traveller in the Isle of Wight, not only by their often giving an identity and attraction to many of those broad features of scenery which would otherwise be comparatively tame and monotonous, but also by enabling him to determine the bearings and situation of places in their vicinity.
We shall here name a few of the most conspicuous of these objects, nearly in the order pursued in the preceding description of the Tour of the Island:—most of them being visible from the neighbourhood of Newport, which, as we have before stated, occupies a central position. We shall therefore commence with Carisbrooke Castle.
At West Cowes—the Church-tower, and Windmills. At East Cowes—Towers of Osborne, Norris, and East Cowes Castle. At Wootton—the Prospect-tower of Fernhill. Southward of Ryde—a large Windmill. On Ashey Down—the Sea-mark. At Bembridge—Mill on the Down. Godshill—the Church: behind which, on Appuldurcombe Down, is an Obelisk and private Signal-station. On Shanklin Down—Cooke's Castle. St. Catharine's Down—ancient Tower, and old Light-house; on the sea-cliffs, the new Light-house; on the northern extremity of the down, the Alexandrian Pillar. Freshwater Downs—Light-house, and Beacon.
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TOURS OF THE ISLAND.
* * * * *
Some years ago it was customary for the then limited number of Post-masters to adopt a regular three-days' Tour of the island, dividing it into the North-eastern, the Southern, and the North-western; differing but very little except as to the order of the days' excursion. Not so now—for a hundred plans would hardly describe all "the Tours" recommended by the different inn-keepers and numerous other letters-out of vehicles for pleasure-parties; to say nothing of the wide difference between the visitors themselves, as regards the Time allowed.—We have anticipated, we hope, every question on the subject, by the arrangement in the preceding pages: but still it may be satisfactory to some of our readers, to see the most generally adopted Routes. The reader will perceive that Appuldurcombe is frequently left as the object of a separate day's trip.
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CONTINUED TOUR FROM RYDE.
FIRST DAY MILES St. John's: St. Clare, &c., 1 The Priory, 2 St. Helen's Green, 1 Bembridge (crossing ferry), 1 Yaverland, 3-1/2 Sandown Fort and Village, 1-1/2 Shanklin Chine and Village, 3 Luccombe Chine, 1-1/2 East End, 0-1/2 Bonchurch—Ventnor, 2 Steephill Castle, 1 St. Lawrence, 1 Niton, 2-1/2 Sleep here, or at Blackgang.——— 23-1/2
St. Catharine's Light-house, 0-1/2 Sandrock Spring, 0-1/2 Blackgang Chine, 0-1/2 Chale, 0-1/2 Kingston, 2-1/2 Shorwell and Northcourt, 2 Brixton, 2 Mottistone, 2 Brooke, 1 Freshwater-gate, 4 Needles Light-house, 3-1/2 Alum Bay, 1 Sleep at Fr. gate or A. Bay.——— 20
Yarmouth, 6 Calbourne and Westover, 6 Swainston, 1-1/2 Carisbrooke Village, 3 Newport, 1 Parkhurst Prison, 1 West Cowes, 4 East Cowes (crossing ferry), 0-1/2 Whippingham Church, 2 Wootton-bridge, 3 Quarr Abbey, 1 Ryde, 2-1/2 ——— 31-1/2
Tour from Ryde, in which Parties sleep but one Night in the Country.
FIRST DAY: St. Helen's 4 miles, Bembridge 1, Yaverland and Sandown 5, Shanklin 3, Luccombe and East End 2, Bonchurch and Ventnor 2, Wroxall 2, Newchurch 4, Ryde 6—total 29 miles, or by Brading 26.
SECOND DAY: Wootton 3-1/2, Arreton 4, Godshill and Appuldurcombe 5, Steephill 3, St. Lawrence 1, Niton 2-1/2, Arreton 7, Wootton 4, Ryde 3-1/2—total 33-1/2 miles.
THIRD DAY: Through Wootton to Newport 7, Carisbrooke 1, Shorwell 4, Brixton 2, Mottistone 2, Brooke 1, Freshwater-gate 4, Needles-point 3-1/2, Alum Bay 1,—total 25-1/2 miles. Sleep at Fr. gate or Alum Bay.—FOURTH DAY: Yarmouth 6, Shalfleet 4, Barracks, &c. 5-1/2, West Cowes, 4, East Cowes 0-1/2, Whippingham 2, Wootton 3, Ryde 3-1/2—total 28-1/2 miles.
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GENERAL TOUR FROM COWES.
House of Industry, &c. 4 Newport, 1 Carisbrooke Castle, 1 Swainston, on the right, 3 Calbourne and Westover, 1-1/2 Yarmouth, 6 Alum Bay, 6 The Needles Light-house, 1 Freshwater-gate, 3-1/2 Sleep here, or at Alum Bay.——- 28
Brooke—Mottistone, 5 Brixton 2 Shorwell and Northcourt, 2 Chale and Blackgang Chine, 5 Sandrock Spring, 0-1/2 St. Catharine's Light-house, 0-1/2 Niton Village, 0-1/2 St. Lawrence Church, &c. 2-1/2 Steephill Castle, 1 Ventnor, and Bonchurch, 2 East End, 1 Luccombe Chine, 0-1/2 Shanklin Chine and Village, 1-1/2 Sleep here, or at Ventnor.——— 24
Sandown Fort and Village, 3 Yaverland Church, &c. 1-1/2 Bembridge.—Cross ferry, 3-1/2 St. Helen's Green, 1 The Priory, on the right, 1 St. Clare—St. John's, 2 Ryde 1 Wootton-bridge—Fernhill, 3-1/2 Whippingham Church, 3 East Cowes, 2 ——— 21-1/2
* * * * *
TOURS FROM NEWPORT.
Fernhill—Wootton-bridge, 3-1/2 Quarr Abbey, 1-1/2 Ryde, 2 St. John's—St. Clare, 1 The Priory, 2 St. Helen's Green, 1 Cross ferry to Bembridge, 1 Yaverland Church, &c. 3-1/2 Sandown Fort and Village, 1-1/2 Brading Down, 3 Ashey Sea-mark, 2 Down-end, 2 Newport, 3 ——— 27
Arreton Church, 4 Shanklin, 6 Luccombe—East End, 2 Bonchurch and Ventnor, 2 Steephill Castle, 1 St. Lawrence, 1 Niton, 2-1/2 St. Catharine's Light-house, 0-1/2 Sandrock Spring, 0-1/2 Blackgang Chine 0-1/2 Chale, 1 Gatcombe, 4-1/2 Newport, 4 (Or return by Rookley.) ——— 29
Carisbrooke, 1 Shorwell and Northcourt, 4 Brixton, 2 Mottistone, 2 Brooke, 1 Freshwater-gate, 4 Needles Light-house, 3-1/2 Alum Bay, 1 Yarmouth, 6 Calbourne and Westover, 6 Swainston, 1-1/2 Carisbrooke Village, 3 Newport, 1 (Or return by Shalfleet.) ——— 36
* * * * *
A VOYAGE ROUND THE ISLAND
If the weather be favorable, will prove very interesting, and indeed be necessary to enable us to form a just estimate of the local attractions, since many of the scenes we have described are seen to most advantage from the water. Steamers perform the trip two or three times a-week during the season (usually in about eight hours): and sailing-craft from Ryde and Cowes are often engaged by parties for the same purpose.
If we sail to the eastward on leaving Cowes Harbour, the first objects demanding our attention are Norris Castle and the royal Palace of Osborne, with their extensive lawns sweeping to the shore, shaded by numerous groups of noble trees. After passing the Creeks of King's Quay and Wootton, we have a partial sight of Binstead: and a most comprehensive view of the fashionable town of Ryde, just as we leave the Pier. Hence to St. Helen's the coast forms several beautiful bays, lined with gentlemen's seats and villas, hamlets, and luxuriant woods.
Brading Haven, with the adjacent villages of Bembridge, St. Helen's, and Brading,—the whole encompassed by a semi-circular range of lofty hills—forms a very agreeable picture, especially at the time of high water. Our readers will have no difficulty in recognising the landmark of St. Helen's tower on the beach, and that on Ashey Down, about four miles inland.
Two miles further are the lofty Culver Cliffs, forming the north side of Sandown Bay, on whose shores stand the village and fort of the same name. At the southern extremity of this extensive bay rise the dark precipices of Dunnose, penetrated by the Chines of Shanklin and Luccombe. Near the latter commences the celebrated tract called the Undercliff, whose varied and unique charms are nowhere so advantageously seen as from the water, "whence it rises like a series of gigantic steps that seem to lead from the lofty cliffs on the shore, to the summit of the grand perpendicular wall" that bounds it on the land-side.—East End, the lovely village of Bonchurch, the fast-increasing town of Ventnor, and the stately castle of Steephill, are all fully presented to our view: and less distinctly through the groves in which they are for the most part embosomed, the villas of St. Lawrence, Old Park, Mirables, &c. Beyond the pretty little cove of Puckaster we see part of Niton village; and close to the shore, the gigantic tower of the Light-house. A mile further is the Sandrock Spring, in the midst of a wild tract, that terminates in the gloomy ravine called Blackgang Chine, backed by the tower-crowned eminence of St. Catharine's Hill.
Hence to Compton Bay the coast is dreary and comparatively monotonous; but we have a tolerable view of some of the smaller chines, and also of the fine range of downs that stretch from the centre of the island to its western extremity. Almost the whole extent of Freshwater Cliffs meets the eye at once: but there is no great difficulty in recognizing the most noted rocks, caves, &c. as we pass along. The various forms which are exhibited by those huge masses of chalk the Needles, as we approach and leave them, in connection with the beautiful precipices of Scratchell's Bay, form perhaps the most interesting circumstance of our voyage: the light-house seems placed on the very brink of the precipice: and the brilliant scenery of Alum Bay will appear to advantage, especially if it be a sunny afternoon.
Beyond this the coast consists of steep broken slopes and earthy cliffs, some of them of considerable altitude, but presents no object of particular interest till we near the river Yar, with its adjacent town and villas: Newtown Creek opens about three miles further on. West Cowes, as we approach it from Thorness Bay, has a beautiful aspect, numerous genteel villas and first-rate lodging-houses covering the shore for nearly a mile: and the ever-amusing scene of Cowes harbour will form a delightful termination to our voyage.
* * * * *
The Passage and Conveyance.
* * * * *
JUNE 1, 1849.
* * * * *
>>Strangers are particularly requested to attend to the following recommendation.—We have always made it a point to delay the publication of our Guides to as late a period as we well could (often to a degree of inconvenience), in order that our readers may be furnished with an accurate statement of the precise time of the several passage-vessels starting to or from the island: but this, instead of an advantage, often proved a disappointment: for perhaps a change of hours unexpectedly took place within a week or fortnight afterwards, in consequence of some new regulation in the time of the railways, or from some motive on the part of one or other of the steam-packet companies. We therefore particularly advise strangers to make inquiry at the local inns, on board the packets, or at the railway or booking offices, in all cases where it is of important consequence to know exactly to a minute.
* * * * *
Between Southampton, Cowes, Ryde, & Portsmouth.
FROM MORN. AFT.
South'n to Cowes at. 3-1/2 8.40 10.40—1-3/4 4.40 7 Ryde and Portsmo. 8.40 10.40—1-3/4 4.40 Portsmouth to Cowes 8.40 10—2 4-1/2 6-1/2 Southampton 8.40 10—2 4-1/2 Ryde to Cowes 9-1/4 10-1/2—2-1/2 5 7 Southampton 9-1/4 10-1/2—2-1/2 5 Cowes to Ryde 10 12—3-1/2 6-1/4 Portsmouth 6-3/4 10 12—3-1/2 6.15 South'n. 8-3/4 10.40 12—3-3/4 6-1/4 8-3/4 South'n to East Cowes 3-1/2 10.40—1-3/4 4.40 E. Cowes to South'ton. 8.35 11.50—3.35 6
On Sundays the passages are less frequent.
* * * * *
Portsmouth, Portsea, Gosport, and Ryde.
From Gosport at 8.10, 9.45, 10.50, 11.50, 1-1/2, 2-1/2, 5-1/4, 6.35. From Portsea at 8.15, 9.50, 10.55 11.55, 1.35, 2.35, 5.25, 6.40. From Portsmouth each passage five minutes later.
From Ryde at 7.20, 9, 11, 12, 1-1/4, 2-1/2, 4-1/4, & 6.
From Portsmouth at 8, 3, and 5. From Ryde at 9, 4, and 6.
>>In the height of the season, steamers leave Southampton for Cowes on the arrival of every Railway train,—and Cowes for Southampton in time to meet every Train: and between Portsmouth and Ryde run about every hour from 7 to 7.
* * * * *
From LYMINGTON—the Glasgow runs to Yarmouth three or four times a-day: the Solent every morning to Cowes, whence she proceeds on alternate days to Southampton and Portsmouth—and by suiting her time to that of the other steamers, maintains a daily communication between all these places.
The steamers from Portsmouth, Southampton, and Lymington, tow horse-boats across.
During summer, Steamers frequently make trips round the island, usually in about seven hours.
* * * * *
Regular Sailing Passage-boats.
FROM COWES to NEWPORT, daily: the hours depending upon the state of the tide.
From WOOTTON to PORTSMOUTH at 9 and 4 (3 or earlier in winter), daily: and from Portsmouth at 9 and 2-1/2.
From BEMBRIDGE to Portsmouth and back, every other day, or oftener, in summer.
To POOLE the sailing-hoys run twice a-week, calling off Cowes and Yarmouth.
* * * * *
The STAGE-COACHES.—The following are the summer arrangements for 1849:—
From Newport to Ryde, at 8, 12-1/2, 2-3/4, and 5-1/4. From Ryde at 9-1/4, 11, 3-1/2, and 6-1/2.
From Newport to West Cowes at 8, 9-1/2, 2-1/2, and 5-1/2. Cowes to Newport at 10, 12, 3-1/2, and 6-1/2.
West Cowes to Ventnor (thro' Newport, Blackgang, and Niton,) at 10, returning at 3. Ventnor to East Cowes (through Godshill and Newport,) at 8-1/2, returning at 3.
From Ryde to Ventnor at 9-1/2, 11, and 3. Ventnor to Ryde at 8-1/2, 1-3/4, and 3. Passing through Brading, Sandown, and Shanklin.
Most of the coaches omit travelling on Sundays.
It will be seen that by these conveyances, visitors arriving at Cowes or Ryde in the morning may make the tour of one-half the island the same day. If from Ryde in the morning, they would be returned to Cowes in time for the last packet across, and the same from the latter to the former place.
But here we must caution our friends, as we did respecting the steam-packets, that frequent alterations take place in the hours of starting, perhaps in consequence of some change made by the vessels, but as often induced by the caprice of the rival speculators; some of them continuing throughout the year, and others running only during the summer.
The CARRIERS.—These of late have so increased, that there is scarcely a village without one or more to Newport or Ryde,—between the latter places there are three every day; between Cowes, Newport, and Ventnor, several carts and vans daily; and from the less populous parishes, one every other day.
* * * * *
List of the Principal Inns.
NEWPORT,—the Bugle—Mew. Star—Bryant. Wheat-sheaf, Corn-market—J. Read. Green Dragon, Pyle-street—R. Read. Swan, High-street—Wardle.
RYDE,—Pier Hotel—Rendall. Hotel, Union-street—Yelf. Kent, ditto—Pegg. Crown, near the theatre—Woodrow. Hotel, near the pier—Beazley. Star, upper part of the town—Locke. Hotel & Boarding-house—Weeks.
WEST COWES,—Fountain, on the quay—Webb. Vine, adjoining; ditto—Roper. Marine Hotel, Parade—Helmore. Globe, ditto—Aris.
EAST COWES,—Medina Hotel—Drew. Prince of Wales, nr. toll-gate—Tucker
FRESHWATER,—Hotel. Fr. gate—Plumbly. Albion Hotel, ditto—Groves. Needles Hotel, Alum Bay—Groves.
BLACKGANG CHINE Hotel—Brooks.
NITON,—Royal Sandrock Hotel—Kent. Boarding-house, on the shore—Bailey. White Lion, Niton village—Bright. Buddle Inn—
VENTNOR,—Hotel—Riles. Marine Hotel—Bush. Crab and Lobster—Cass. Commercial Inn—Cummins.
SHANKLIN,—Williams's Hotel—Hale. Hotel—Daish.
BEMBRIDGE, Hotel, on the beach—Fletcher.
LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL
SEATS & COUNTRY-VILLAS
WITH THE NAMES OF
Their Proprietors or Occupiers.
* * * * *
>>In those instances where no Occupiers' Names appear, such Residences are generally to be sold or let.
* * * * *
OSBORNE, Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen
APPULDURCOMBE, Earl Yarborough. Afton Manor-house, B. Cotton, esq. Appley, near Ryde, J. Hyde, esq. Beauchamp, Undercliff, Sir W. Gordon, bt. Bellecroft, near Newport, J. Cooke, esq. Bembridge Parsonage, Rev. F.G. Middleton. Billingham, near Kingston W. Stancombe, esq. Binstead Cottage, Lord Downes. ————Parsonage, Rev. Philip Hewitt. Blackwater Cottage, S. of Newport, J. Rutherford, esq. Brixton Parsonage, Rev. E. McAll. Brook Manor-house, James How, esq. Brookfield Cottage, Binstead, Rev. Aug. Hewitt. Calbourne Parsonage, Rev. R. Sumner. Calbourne Lodge, J. Fowler, esq. Castlehurst, nr. Carisbrooke, H. Pinnock, esq. Chale Parsonage, Rev. A. Gother. Costorphine-hill, Ryde, J.P. Lind, esq. EAST COWES CASTLE, —— East Dene, Bonchurch, Capt. Swinburne. Egypt House, nr. W. Cowes, Sir T. Tancred, bt. Elm Cottage, near E. Cowes, —— FAIRLEE, N.E. of Newport, Rd. Oglander, esq. Fairlee Cottage, ditto, —— Fairy-hill, Nettlestone, W.A. Glynn, esq. Farringford-hill, Freshwater, Rev. G. Seymour. FERNHILL, Wootton, Samuel Sanders, esq. GATCOMBE PARK, Captain Berners. Gatcombe Rectory, Rev. W. Thompson, D.D. Hampstead, near Shalfleet, Mrs. Nash. Haylands, south of Ryde, Captain Locke. Hill-grove, Bembridge, Hon. A.H. Moreton. Holmwood, Ryde, T.B. Maynard, esq. Kite-hill, Wootton, Sir H. Brook, bt. Lowcliff Lodge, Blackgang, —— Mill-hill, West Cowes, —— Medina Hermitage, nr. Niton, W.H. Dawes, esq. Mirables, Undercliff, ditto, Mrs. Arnold. Mount Cleeves House, ditto, the Misses Simes. Moor House, near W. Cowes, —— Mottistone House, R. Jessett, esq. New Close, s.w. of Newport, T. Cooke, esq. Ningwood House, Rev. —— Cottell. Niton Parsonage, Rev. R. Dixon. NORRIS, near E. Cowes, R. Bell, esq. NORTHCOURT, Shorwell, H.P. Gordon, esq. Shide Cottage, S. of Newport, Col. Napier. NORTHWOOD PARK, G.H. Ward, esq. Norton Lodge, Freshwater, Sir G. Hamond, bt. NUNWELL, near Brading, Sir W. Oglander, bt. Oakhill, near Ryde, T.M. Leacock, esq. Old Park, Undercliff, J. Walkinshaw, esq. Orchard, ditto, near Niton, Sir W. Gordon, bt. Padmore, Whippingham, Rev. James Jolliffe. Pidford, near Rookley, ————— Pitt-place, Mottistone, ————— PRIORY, N. of St. Helen's, H. Smith, esq. Puckaster Cottage, Undercliff, Mrs. Vine. Puckpool, east of Ryde, Lewis Wyatt, esq. Ryde House, Miss Player. Rookley Cottage, John Woodward, esq. Rosiere, Niton, ————- Sealand Cottage, Blackgang, R. Pinnock, esq. St. Clare, east of Ryde, Col. Vernon Harcourt. ST. JOHN'S, ditto, A.F. Hamilton, esq. St. Lawrence Villa, Earl Yarborough. ———- —- Cottage, Hon. Capt. D. Pelham. St. Thomas' Villa, E. Cowes, Miss Barrington. Sea-grove, Nettlestone, W. Gardiner esq. Sea-field, ditto, Henry Beach, esq. Spring-field, ditto, John Callender, esq. Steane Villa, Bembridge, ————- Shanklin Parsonage, Archdeacon Hill. Shorwell Parsonage, Rev. E. Robertson. Slatwoods, near East Cowes, Miss Shedden. Southlands House, Blackgang, ——— Spring-hill, ditto, George Shedden, esq. Standen, south of Newport, General Evelegh. STEEPHILL CASTLE, J. Hambrough, esq. Stickworth, south of Arreton, Mrs. Bell. Stonepits' Cottage, Binstead, Capt. Brigstocke. SWAINSTON, nr. Calbourne, Sir Rd. Simeon, bt. The Battery, Sandown, T. Woodham, esq. The Farm, nr. Newport, B. Mew, esq. The Marina, Norton, Capt. Crozier. Tower Cottage, Shanklin, — Cameron, esq. Uplands, east of Ryde, C. Payne, esq. Upton House, south of Ryde, Admiral Hoare. Wacklands, s. of Newchurch, William Thatcher, esq. WESTOVER, Calbourne, Hon. A'Court Holmes. Westhill, Cowes, the Misses Ward. —— Norton, R.B. Crozier, esq. Westcliff, Niton, Captain Ker. Westridge, east of Ryde, Mrs. Young. Westbrook, ditto, J. Le Marchant, esq. Whitcomb, near Gatcombe, Mrs. Hughes. Woodlands, east of Ryde, J. Percival, esq. Woodvale, near Gurnard, Captain Ffarington. Wootton Parsonage. Rev. R.W. White. Yafford, near Shorwell, James Jolliffe, esq. Yaverland Parsonage, Rev. R. Sherson.