Steep-sided coastal ravines, where a river flows through eroding cliffs to the sea, common features of the Isle of Wight’s south coast. Each has its own character depending on geology and wildlife and over the ages they have been used to access the sea by smugglers, wreckers and pleasure seekers alike. There are about 20 chines to explore on the island, although access does vary if storms have altered their features. The main chine for visitors is Shanklin Chine, a lush tree and fern-lined ravine that cuts its way from Shanklin Old Village to the sandy beach and Esplanade far below. This pay-for-entry family-friendly gorge first opened in 1817 and is the longest established attraction on the island. It can be enjoyed by day or night when hundreds of lights illuminate the narrow paths, streams and waterfalls. Nearby Luccombe Chine, between Shanklin and Ventnor, is a deep wooded chine that leads to a remote beach. A footpath runs down to Luccombe Chine where it is possible to scramble down an old landslip onto the beach. Whale Chine above Chale Beach is another scramble down a few steps and a rope to a deserted beach, or it can also be viewed from the coast path.
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