Sunday, 1 May 2011


One of the features of this stretch of coast on the Isle of Wight is the series of “chines”, or steep wooded valleys running down to the sea. These include Brook Chine, Whale Chine, Shanklin Chine and the one my parents and I visited during our trip to the island, Blackgang Chine. As I child, I rememeber being captivated by this spot, with its quirky features including a “gnome garden” a crooked house, and a maze. So I paid a visit to the Chine’s official website to catch up with the place, and it would appear that – as with the Needles, see earlier post – it has changed beyond recognition. The gnomes et al have been joined by a series of rides, an “Animated Indoors”, and themed areas Nurseryland, Dinosaurland and Fantasyland. As might be expected, this has attracted mixed reviews on travel review sites such as Tripadvisor.

Blackgang Chine was a very different place in the early days, the preserve of fishermen and, allegedly, smugglers. It was during Victorian times that this spot attracted the attentions of the growing number of tourists, prompting the establishment of attractive gardens, and it was after this that the other “attractions” began to be added. Blackgang Chine has developed a reputation among followers of the paranormal as a place rich in ghost sightings. In August 2008 the local paper carried a story about the sighting of the ghost of a little girl, which was captured on camera. However, among the reader responses to the story was one claiming that the “ghost” was simply one of the Chine’s characters, Little Miss Muffet, captured in such a way that she resembled a ghost! Oh well, there’s always the Haunted Mansion, one of the park’s amusements, to satisfy the thirst for the paranormal.

Map of the area.

Blackgang Chine Signphoto © 2006 Jem Stone | more info (via: Wylio)

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