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 Up the Creek - Isle of Wight

Whitecliff Bay

  Whitecliff Bay, between Bembridge Ledge and Sandown Bay is protected by a headland of Chalk cliffs in the south, but is notable as probably the best exposure in Southern England for Tertiary, Palaeogene, strata.  The cliffs of soft sands and clays provide one of the most important sections of Europe.  Locally, they form a key, reference section for the younger strata of the Hampshire Basin.   Most of the beds are vertical or steeply dipping and thus a large stratigraphical sequence is seen in a short geographical distance.   In little more than a kilometre of coastline, about 500m of late Palaeocene to late Eocene clays and sands are well-exposed.  Very fossiliferous sediments are present, particularly in the marine London Clay, the marine Bracklesham Group and the lacustrine and lagoonal Solent Group, which includes the Headon Hill Formation and the Bembridge Limestone and Bembridge Marls.

  Not that I understand much of that but suffice to say that this bay is the bay to go to on the Isle of Wight should you wish to pick up the odd prehistoric item (or two) and the bay is just a stroll farther round from The Crab & Lobster pub.   A beach crawl followed by a pub lunch (and ales) to follow maybe?  Drop anchor tucked in to Whitecliff Ledge as inshore as possible.  No sunsets here but the lee of the land can be perfect swimming especially in the warmer waters and there’s Ice-cream available on the beach.

Whitecliff Bay (Extract from Chart GB50242F)

Whitecliff Bay Aerial view with boats anchored

History of Whitecliff Bay

© Copyright Terry Paynter