Navigational tips and beauty spots around the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight.

Freshwater Bay

A former smugglers’ haunt. Photo: Peter Bruce

Just east of Watcombe Bay is Freshwater Bay, whose western edge is marked by Fort Redoubt, a Palmerston fort surrounded by a dry moat. It’s now a private dwelling. There are rocks either side of the entrance, which used to be a favourite smugglers’ haunt, but the narrow entrance was widened with dynamite to allow for the escape of the full rigged ship Carl in 1916. To the east of Freshwater there are two rocks, Stag Rock, closest to the Bay, and Mermaid Rock. Mermaid Rock calved herself off the cliff behind in 1969, but Freshwater’s main natural feature is no more. Just visible above the water between Stag and Mermaid Rocks are two chalk platforms that used for form the base of Arch Rock, which collapsed on 25 October 1992.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The Needles
  3. 3. Rounding the Needles
  4. 4. Scratchell's Bay
  5. 5. Scratchell's Bay to Freshwater
  6. 6. Sir Robert Holmes
  7. 7. Frenchman's Hole
  8. 8. Watcombe Bay
  9. 9. War Knight
  10. 10. Freshwater Bay
  11. 11. Back of the Wight
  12. 12. Sirenia
  13. 13. Landslips
  14. 14. St Catherine's Point
  15. 15. Pepper Pot
  16. 16. Rocken End
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