Isle of Wight Nostalgia - Blackgang Chine Theme Park - The battle against erosion

Blackgang Chine is claimed to be the oldest Theme Park in the world and is situated on the cliffs south of Niton. The Chine has been a major tourist attraction since last century. It has always been a family run business but somewhat unusually has always been passed from father to youngest son. It's location on the cliffs makes it particularly attractive to adults; its attraction for kids has never been in doubt! One of the points of interest and sometimes sadness is the geology of the area. The cliffs hereabouts sit on a layer of Gault (known locally as Blue Slipper). The cliffs are literally slipping into the ocean. In fact the cliff is disappearing at about 3.5 metres per year although the process is not gradual. It tends to come in stages after periods of heavy rain. The three most recent and destructive cliff falls were in 1928, 1961 & 1994. This means that Blackgang Chine is never the same two years running. The park is floodlit during summer evenings; This is a must visit but check for evening opening times.


A view from 1953. Much of this area had been lost by the next shot in 1979.
Photo credit, Jack Parker

Night shot

A night time view in 1979. The views and 1000's of lights are still romantic, but this view, alas, is now under water.


Evidence of more slippage as the old Blackgang road starts to crumble. This road has since been closed off (in 1999 I think) and now forms part of the park.


Originally a very poor photo (retouched by Derek Hale) shows the old ticket office perched on the cliff in 1990.

Landslip at Blackgang

A view towards the old ticket office taken in May 2000.

Cliff edge - once 350 yards inland!

The sign says it all!

Landslip at Blackgang

Another view in May 2000..

Landslip at Blackgang

Landslip at Blackgang


The pirates have abandoned ship.


The management manage to ensure that the major exhibits are continually found new locations...

Old cowboy town

... this cowboy town fell into the sea but has been re-built higher up...


... this adds to the interest as you never know what you're going to find!


Another cliff fall during the winter of 1994/95. Sleeping Beauty's castle was here but was quickly moved when the land began to crack.

I'm aware it can be difficult to get properly insured in areas around the Undercliff or that share a postcode. I was reminded by an insurance company that many homeowners insurance policies do not cover so-called "earth-movement" events. Unlike funeral expense insurance and plans that are very specific in what they cover, homeowners policies may or may not include coverage for natural disasters. Generally buying life insurance for parents is pretty straightforward but buying homeowners insurance can be slightly more complicated.

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