Monday, 28 March 2016

Escape to Binnel Bay

For some years now it has not been possible to drive from the west to the east Wight via the southern tip of the Isle of Wight through The Undercliff - it used to be a very pretty drive but one landslip too many has finally destroyed this route.The road west from the Ventnor botanic gardens west now warns the driver every few hundred metres that there is 'no through road'. However, you can still access the increasingly secret hamlet of St Lawrence and, with a little improvisation, you can get to Binnel Bay, a secluded rocky cove.

Binnel Bay - the top of St Catherine's lighthouse is just visible above the distant headland.
The Undercliff on the southern edge of the Isle of Wight has always been a rather magical place, not the least reason being that the soft lower cliff famously moves around regularly wiping out the roads and the footpaths there making a wilderness that is often impenetrable. St Lawrence remains an area of hidden streets and some surprisingly grand mansions that somehow persevere perched on the rocky and more stable land forms and peer out at the sea across fields and small woodlands.

Among the Victorian and more recent mansions is the remains of RAF St Lawrence, marking a time when - with good reason - we feared invasion by the Nazi, and the old wartime bunker is now being transformed into a private house.

Here are a few photos.
bunker being converted

cliff top

lesser celandine

small tortoiseshell butterflies
The cliff above the undercliff
peacock butterfly
Wall lizard Podarcis muralis at the Ventnor Botanic garden

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