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Undercliff, Isle of Wight

Historical Description

Undercliff, a romantic range of compound cliff and terrace on the S coast of the Isle of Wight, extending from Dunnose past Ventnor and St Lawrence to Blackgang Chine. It is 6 miles long, and from one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile wide, trends in the direction of WSW, was formed by successive landslips of soft greensand heights, with subsequent modification by rains, rivulets, and sea-billows, and presents a general appearance at once wild, peculiar, picturesque, and beautiful A basement range of cliffs fronts the beach, and rises to heights of from 20 to 100 feet; a broad, rugged, inclined platform ascends thence with diversified features over the main width, and a crowning range of cliffs, mural, shattered, and fissured, soars from the inner edge to heights of from 90 to 300 feet. The entire range has rich attractions for tourists and sketchers. Many spots on it are studded with handsome villas, and some parts are famous as resorts for invalids. Landslips occurred near its E extremity in 1810 and 1818, and near its W extremity in 1798-99, but all the other landslips which formed or modified it were of earlier date than the era of record, and no landslips, at least none of any consequence, are now apprehended.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5