Now we are in Tennyson Country, the western end of the island which is quieter and less populated and is know for its open countryside and rugged cliffs that tower over the sea, and of course the Needles those famous rocks with the lighthouse on that all the tourists want to see.

Most people get here via Yarmouth  and then the road from Newport past Colwell bay with its sandy beaches and shallow bathing to Totland which has one of the best beaches on the island and is not that crowded as the other resorts, Alum Bay just before you get to the Needles is famous for its colourful sands and I have had many a happy hour below these cliffs with a little glass bottle in the shape of a lighthouse or bell filling them up layer by layer with the coloured sands until it is a full jar with lines of colour right up to the top where a cork is usually placed! There are signs that say the cliffs are dangerous so the visitor has to be wary.

It was here that Marconi set up the world's first wireless station in 1897.

The South Coastal Path runs along the top of the path along Tennyson Down to Freshwater bay and here is a short promenade surrounded by the towering chalk cliffs. Half way along the the Down can be found a monument to Lord Tennyson.

The Tennyson Monument on top of the cliffs
(Photo courtesy of Wight Cam)

Tennyson would come up here in all weathers climbing the downs that he loved so much and breathing in the fresh sea air while allowing the views both out to sea or inland to sink in. Long before he gained fame he would spend time here and with the little money he had he invested it in a railway and with that and the money he got from his writings he came to Farringford and he said that the view from his window was a 'miracle of beauty'. While here he took up gardening and did a little farming and he started to make a dictionary of flowers.

The village of Freshwater is not far away with its little church, but it was at Blackdown in Sussex that Tennyson died and he is buried in the abbey. Lady Tennyson is buried here in the churchyard though, near to the east wall and they both died at the same age with just a few years between them and her grave is inscribed "Dear, near, and true, no truer Time himself can prove you, though he make you evermore dearer and nearer."

Pond in Tennysons Lane, Freshwater,
(photo kindly sent in by Sue King, Bedfordshire)