Secret rocket engine testing at High Down

Rocket engine testing | 1956-71 | Period: Modern

High above the sea on the south side of West High Down close to The Needles there are the remains of a top secret rocket engine testing site which was active between 1965 and 1971.

Saunders-Roe made the engines at East Cowes for the Black Knight and Black Arrow rockets that were actually launched into space in Woomera, Australia.

The site - like the British space programme soon afterwards - was abandoned in 1971. It is now a rather ghostly promenade to nowhere on the edge of the cliffs where information panels tell the story. Nearby the National Trust's New Battery has an underground exhibition on the rocket testing programme.