The Island’s southernmost village, Chale sits just to the west of Blackgang and has two areas – the older part with church and pub and the newer centre about half a mile inland; Chale Green. Reputed to have been the haunt of smugglers, the rocks offshore certainly claimed many ships.
Local pub The Wight Mouse Inn was originally called The Clarendon and built of timbers from the ship of the same name that foundered in 1836. Now a popular family pub, it has a great garden and playground and a huge characterful interior. Nearby Chale Bay Farm offer boutique B&B and down the road Chale Green Stores have a great selection of goods and a popular café with garden.
After the Clarendon wreck a lighthouse was built at St Catherine’s Point to warn shipping. But it was back in the 14th century that Walter De Godeton was ordered to build the ‘Pepperpot’ atop the nearby downs as a beacon after plundering wine belonging to the church from a nearby wreck. It’s a lovely walk on a sunny day, with fabulous views.
Blackgang Chine is the oldest theme park in the country, and opened in 1843 to exhibit a whale that had been washed up on the beach. Now it boasts loads of different areas and amusements, including life size animatronic dinosaurs and huge waterslides. The Chine, which was reputed to have been used by the ‘Black Gang’ for smuggling, has fallen into the sea as do parts of the cliff every year!