A marvel by day
... a wonder by night
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What is a Chine ?
What is a Chine is the question we are most frequently asked – Chine is a word used only in the Isle of Wight and Dorset and means a deep narrow ravine with water running down to the sea. You can also think of an animal’s backbone or Chine of a boat, a deep, narrow scooped out cup, as in the Saxon for Shanklin – Scenc-hlinc, cup in the rising ground.
The Chine spring rises in the Downs and can be spectacular in heavy rain, especially at night with the lights. There are many mineral springs (chalybeate) all over the Chine and Shanklin, discovered by Dr Fraser, Charles II’s physician. Shanklin briefly became a Spa in Victorian times and the treatment rooms are still there on the site of the Royal Spa Hotel. Over the centuries, the Chine was used mainly for smuggling, so prevalent in the 18th Century, that the Customs and Excise officers had to be stationed in the Old Village. It had already started to attract increasing interest for its beauty and became a favourite with artists, writers, poets which our Exhibition highlights.
My first quotation by the poet Keats is “The wondrous Chine is a very great lion, I wish I had as many guineas as there have been spyglasses in it”.
Shanklin Chine is a Site of Important Nature Conservation – an unfortunate acronym is SINC.
And now I think we had better start our journey…
Mrs Anne Springman MBE (Trustee)
The Island’s oldest tourist attraction is celebrating 201 years!
Carved by Mother Nature’s own hands over thousands of years, the stunning tree lined gorge that is Shanklin Chine cuts its mark from Shanklin Old Village to the sandy beach and Esplanade, far below.
Attracting many millions of visitors to wander through and marvel at its beauty over a near double century of seasonal openings, Shanklin Chine can truly say it’s lasted the test of visitor time. There are few places on the Isle of Wight, let alone England, that can boast such a tranquil and picturesque location.
3 Chine Hill Shanklin Isle of Wight PO37 6BW | Telephone: 01983 866432