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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Needles Isle of Wight

The Needles are a row of tall, pointy chalk cliffs that are located off the coast of the Isle of Wight. They are the Isle of Wight's most iconic and popular tourist attraction.

The cliff which gave the Needles their name, being the only needle-shaped rock in the row, collapsed in a storm in 1764, but the name has stuck ever since.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The Needles
Due to the popularity of the Needles as a tourist attraction, a small amusement park was opened at Alum Bay, where the Needles are located, as well as a chairlift that allows a better view of the Needles than you can get from the headland.
The Needles Isle of Wight.
The Needles chairlift - http://www.theneedles.co.uk
Also located on the headland are the Needles Old Battery, the Needles New Battery, and the High Down Rocket Testing Site. The Old Battery was built between 1861-63, designed to defend against enemy ships.

The New Battery was then built after there were concerns that the firing of the guns from the Old Battery was causing the cliffs below to crumble. The New Battery was built further up the cliffs, and was completed in 1985. Both of the buildings are Grade II listed buildings.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The remains of the Old Battery - http://www.geograph.org.uk

The High Down Rocket Testing Site was built in the 1950's and was operated in secret. The Black Knight rocket was tested at this site in the 1950's, prior to it's launch in Australia, as well as the Black Arrow rocket in the 1960's.

The High Down Rocket Testing Site played a very important part in Britain's Space Programme, but was neglected after the 1970's and the majority of the buildings were demolished. There is a small museum dedicated to it at the Needles New Battery.

The Needles Isle of Wight.
The High Down Rocket Testing Site - http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk
Alum Bay New Road
Alum Bay
PO39 0JD

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