SHANKLIN

O traveller; stay thy weary feet;
Drink of this fountain,
Pure and sweet;
It flows for rich and poor the same.
Then go thy way, remembering still.
The wayside well beneath the hill,
The cup of water in His name.
The Chine is a cool refuge on hot
Summer days. It was opened to the
Public in 1817 and has long been one
Of the Island's greatest natural tourist
Attractions. A former haunt of
Smugglers, it is today a rich haven of
Rare plants surrounding the winding
Path which passes by a stream
Cascading down a 40ft waterfall on its
Way to the sea. At the foot of the
Chine is the delightful Fisherman's
Cottage, a free house family pub with
Good food and large sitting areas on
The edge of the sand.

So said Henry Longfellow when he stayed at the "lovely Little Crab Inn," and this inscription is now on the fountain. Sandown shares the longest bay in the island with Sandown but it is different from its twin in significant respects, in that there is high land immediately behind it, that steeply rises separating the shops from the beach, but for the weary there is a public lift. And in other respects Shanklin is much quieter and they would rather play cricket here than have the noisy amusements that Sandown seems to enjoy.

But the town also has a sunny beach and more than its share of sunshine and thought its piers were wrecked by a hurricane it has many of the seaside's traditional entertainment.

This little town is a firm favourite with the tourists and this is mainly because of its old village that has been lovingly cared for and is sheltered by Shanklin Down with Shanklin chine which is a large fissure in the cliffs that is about 320ft deep and 190 feet wide and was carved ut by a stream that cascades into a pool below.

The name Shanklin derives from the Chine which the Saxons called Scen-hlinc which means 'cup in the rising ground' and it was known to the Romans and the manor of Shanklin was listed in the Domesday Book as being in the possession of Fitz-Azor.

A huge tank was built here during the Second World War as part of the PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) scheme for pumping fuel across the English Channel to France to keep the invading forces supplied, and details of this can be seen at the Heritage Centre at thet op of the Chine.

At the head of the Chine is the Old Village a picturesque group of thatched cottages, shops and hotels and there is a grassy strip on the duff top that is known as Keats Green after who it was named when the poet stayed here in Eglantine Cottage in the High Street. The cottage though has now been turned into a hotel.

Keats it is said wrote many poems here on the island and these included Endymion which begins

 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Islanders have no doubt what inspired him.

The village is also a good starting point for walkers at any time of year and a favourite is across the Worsley Trail to Wroxall or along the coastal path to Luccombe which lies as its Saxon name implies, in a valley. Luccombe chine runs down the cliff face to the shore with a flight of 200 steps and the footpath goes through some spectacular landscape

 

 

Church of St Blasius, Shanklin
Photo reproduced by courtesy of Gwynn White

 

Shanklin's old railway station
Photo reproduced by courtesy of Gwynn White

 

Postcard of The Lawn Canning's
Refreshment Kiosk, Luccombe Common
Near Shanklin
(Kindly sent in by Miriam Bosworth,
Essex, UK
)

 

A fine view of Shanklin Old Village
(courtesy of Dave Parker)

The old church is in a clump of ash trees sheltered by the Down and most of its ancient fabric has long gone though it still has a few treasures like a 16th century chests that is carved with the name of Thomas Silkstead, who was Cathedral Prior at Winchester, and the the date 1512.