A multi coloured and dynamic coastline
This page describes the coastal walk from Chale to Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, part of the Isle of Wight Coast Path. This spectacular section of coast is constantly being attacked by the sea and erosion is both frequent and rapid. The different rock types also contribute to a blaze of colours: orange, yellow,red, grey and the white chalk cliffs at Freshwater.
June 2014 Chale Church - click the right arrow to see more images of the stage in this album.
This page describes a clockwise passage - but the stage can be walked in either direction.
Description of the stage
On a clear day the bay at Freshwater is in sight as you leave Chale and the colourful coastline is laid out before you. Every time you walk this section of coast is unique since erosion is cutting away at the soft rocks all along the route.
Several sections walked in 2010 have since slipped down the slope; a bench at Atherfield Point was 2-3m from the cliff edge in 2012 was literally on the edge in 2013 - that land has also now gone.
The route crosses several “classic” holiday centres and traditional campsites. The path hugs the cliff tops and there are several diversions back to the main road to get around the deep and sometimes wooded chines that cut inland.
Towards the Freshwater end there are dinosaur footprints on the beach and a fossilised forest at Hanover Point before the rocks change from orange, yellow and grey rocks turn to the white chalk cliffs as Freshwater is approached. It is another set of textbook geology examples, with different rock types contributing to the slumping and to the spectacular colour along the coast. For those interested, Ian West’s pages provide a very good description of the processes and geological highlights along this coast. See the link in references below [recommended reading].
There are also wrecks off the coast. Diving and paragliding are local activities. Due to the erosion over the centuries a rule of thumb is that “100 feet [30m] offshore is roughly equivalent to 100years”, with a Roman wreck now just over a kilometre from the coast.
The 2013 walk (anti clockwise) turned out to be very misty from Crompton bay onwards and included a kilometer diversion around Atherfield Bay Holiday Camp due to the cliff cutting back all the way to the fence [the route is now open again here]..
Places along the stage
|Passage point:||Whale Chine||40m|
|Passage point:||Atherfield Point||30m|
|Passage point:||Barnes High||53m|
|Passage point:||Brighstone Bay Holiday Centre||25m|
|Passage point:||Hanover Point||18m|
|Passage point:||Military Road||81m|
|Stage terminus:||Freshwater||end of promenade 3m|
|Total ascent:||270||[m amsl]|
|Total descent:||300||[m amsl]|
|Lowest point:||3||sea level [m amsl]|
|Highest point:||82||Chale[m amsl]|
|Date walked||Who||Walking time hr||Av. speed kmh||Stoppage hr||Direction|
|05 July 2012||KJM||3.65 hours||5.0||0.65hr||clockwise|
|24 April 2013||KJM, HMM||4.2hours||5.0||0.7hr||anti-clockwise|
|11 June 2014||KJM, HMM||4.08 hours||5.0||0.85hr||clockwise|
Points of Interest
Getting there & back
To reach Chale - the hourly No 6 bus from Newport bus station stops at the church.
There is a 1.7km walk from Freshwater along the “Freshwater Way” to reach the bus stop for the No 7 bus (by the Co-op). The No 7 will take you to Newport bus station via the Yarmouth ferry terminus.
Start: 05 July 2012
References & Links:
|20140621||Isle of Wight Coast Path leaflet|
|20140621||Ian West's Geology: Isle of Wight pages|
|20140621||Brighstone Holiday Camp WWII History|
|20140621||Isle of Wight [Wikipedia]|
Updated KJM 21 June 2014