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 tourists
to take home a souvenir of the Isle of Wight

Lucy, Henry and Alum Bay


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson