Blackgang

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Coordinates: 50°35′N 1°19′W / 50.59°N 1.31°W / 50.59; -1.31

Blackgang
Merlins Bistro and houses at Blackgang.JPG
A small number of houses close to the cliffs at Blackgang.
Blackgang is located in Isle of Wight
Blackgang
Blackgang
 Blackgang shown within the Isle of Wight
Unitary authority Isle of Wight
Ceremonial county Isle of Wight
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Isle of Wight
List of places
UK
England
Isle of Wight

Blackgang is a village on the south coast of the Isle of Wight. It is best known as the location of the Blackgang Chine amusement park which sits to the south of St Catherine's Down.

Blackgang forms the west end of the Ventnor Undercliff region, which extends for 12 kilometres from Blackgang to Luccombe, also encompassing the town of Ventnor and the villages of Bonchurch, St Lawrence, and Niton. It also marks the edge of the Back of the Wight.

History[edit]

Historically, Blackgang was a hamlet that expanded into a small village in the mid 19th century, partly out of a Victorian fashion for speculative building of marine villas,[1][2] and partly in association with the establishment of the amusement park at the chine, the large coastal ravine (historically known for being a haunt of smugglers[3]) after which the park was named. The nearby Sandrock Spring, a chalybeate spring discovered in 1811, was another visitor attraction.

The majority of Blackgang's Victorian coastal development, along with the chine itself, was obliterated by landslides and coastal erosion over the 20th century, part of a general pattern of erosion affecting the Undercliff area.[4] A major landslide severed the old road between Blackgang and Niton in 1928, and subsequent ones destroyed most of the remaining road segment and adjoining houses, as well as the Sandrock Spring in 1978.[2] Currently Blackgang comprises the amusement park, a tearoom, and a few other houses.

Clifftop walks in and around the area give panoramic views of the English Channel and the south-western Isle of Wight coast (the Back of the Wight). Blackgang is also notable for dinosaur fossils (see Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight) and the nudist Blackgang Beach.

Blackgang was the birthplace of the actress and comedienne Sheila Hancock.

Southern Vectis operates bus route 6 to Newport and Ventnor through the village.[5]

Road to nowhere[edit]

On the military road near Blackgang Chine Fantasy Park is an old pub called "the Coach House" and latterly called Merlin's Bistro - now a private house. The road ends not far past Merlin's, as in 1994 a major landslip caused the old road to Blackgang Chine entrance to fall through. The small road with a couple of bungalows (still lived in) is a rather sorry sight, as one of Blackgang Chine's areas still lies there derelict. "Adventureland", as it was known, was a play park area for children. The crooked house (at Blackgang Chine, which has now been moved) once stood here also. The remains of Adventureland include a seesaw structure, the brick remains of a wall that surrounded the crooked house originally stood, "Mission Control" (a Nasa-style space control room with levers and buttons) and an old Wicksteed roundabout that still spins like new. This area was accessible up until very recently. Over the opposite side of the road is the old "White House" guesthouse. It is now just a derelict mess, which is accessible but enter at your own risk.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McInnes, R., Marine Estate Research Report, Art as a tool in support of the understanding of coastal change, The Crown Estate – Caird Fellowship, 2008 [1]
  2. ^ a b Slope Stability Engineering, Institution of Civil Engineers, Thomas Telford, 1991, ISBN 0-7277-1660-3 Google Books (retrieved 5 July 2008
  3. ^ J.C Medland "Shipwrecks of the Wight". Coach House Publications ltd, 2004
  4. ^ EUROSION Case Study: LUCCOMBE - BLACKGANG ISLE OF WIGHT (UNITED KINGDOM) , Robin G. McINESS, Isle of Wight Centre for Coastal Environment
  5. ^ "Southern Vectis - bus route 6". www.islandbuses.info. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-04.