Isle of Wight - The Needles and Alum Bay
8 June 2003
The Needles and lighthouse from the Old Battery
The Needles are a narrow chalky peninsula which rises from jagged rocks to 120m
cliffs. These rocks have always been a hazard to ships making their way up the
Solent to Portsmouth and Southampton Water.
The original Needles lighthouse was established in 1786 on the cliffs, but being
144m above sea level, the light was often obscured by sea fogs, and therefore of
little use to mariners when they needed it most. In 1859 a new tower was built
on the outermost rocks.
The tower is 31 metres high, the light being 24 metres above mean sea
level. The lighthouse was automated in 1994, the last keepers leaving the tower
on 8 December.
Looking across Alum Bay past Hatherwood Point, past the lighthouse at the end of
Hurst Beach to the west Hampshire coast. The Hatherwood lighthouse was
established at the same time as that on the Needles (together with a third on
St. Catherine's Point).
The coloured cliffs of Alum Bay, famous for their variety and used by countless
to take home a souvenir of the Isle of Wight
Lucy, Henry and Alum Bay