Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Blackgang Chine

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50.58889°N, 1.31444°W


May 1843

Operating season
March to November

Water rides

General Manager
Dan Selle


+44 1983 730330

Roller coasters

Blackgang Chine

Blackgang, Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom

Alexander Dabell/Vectis Ventures Ltd./ The Dabell Family

Blackgang Chine, Nr. Ventnor PO38 2HN, United Kingdom

Robin Hill Country Park, Carisbrooke Castle, The Needles, Osborne House, Monkey Haven


Blackgang chine adventures with zoe alfie

Blackgang Chine is the UK's oldest amusement park. Named after a now-destroyed chine (a coastal ravine) in the soft Cretaceous cliffs, it is about 6 miles from Ventnor at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight just below St Catherine's Down. The park is owned by the Dabell family. Blackgang Chine has a sister park named Robin Hill. Blackgang Chine is home to life-sized Pirate Ships, Fairy Villages and Castles, Dodo Valleys, and the original Cowboy Town. Owing to the unstable land on which the park is situated, landslides occur frequently, meaning that attractions have continually to be moved further inland to safer ground.


A day at blackgang chine morezoella


During Blackgang Chine's early years, the area was a steep gaunt ravine, overlooking Chale Bay, stretching around 3/4 of a mile down to the shore. It was a quiet place, visited by few people other than local fishermen with rumours of a thriving smuggling trade, which has now become a key theme of the park. On 11 October 1836 the cargo ship Clarendon was wrecked at the foot of Blackgang Chine, with the loss of all aboard.

During Victorian England, people were seeking out new healthy holiday resorts, ideally near the coast. As the railway network was getting closer and closer to the South Coast, the Isle of Wight was becoming an increasingly attractive holiday destination. Alexander Dabell, the founder of the park, soon realised the business potential of this, trying various ventures. In 1839 Alexander became friends with a publican who had recently built a hotel at Blackgang, which now forms the Pirates' Pantry restaurant and administration offices. The park's establishment in 1843 allegedly makes it the oldest theme park in the UK. Its initial theme of a general-purpose scenic and curiosity park led to one of its most famous attractions, a large whale skeleton, which had been washed up near the coast of The Needles in 1842, and is still a showpiece today.

The chine today

Owing to continual landslides, the chine itself has been destroyed. However, coastal erosion still has a significant impact on the area today. The park's focus now is themed entertainment for families with young children, lifesize animatronic dinosaurs being a noted feature. The same owners run a sister site, the Robin Hill countryside adventure park. Clifftop walks in and around the area give panoramic views of the English Channel and the south-western Isle of Wight coast.

According to a May 2000 talk to the Isle of Wight Postcard Club by the then Director, Mr Simon Dabell, the etymology is simply "black pathway" (the original appearance of the chine), but the theme park understandably fosters the interpretation of a smuggling origin. Thus visitors to the park are greeted by a gigantic fibreglass smuggler between whose legs they could pass to enter.

The Blackgang Chine park is featured in the book Bollocks to Alton Towers, a humorous book concerned with "uncommonly British days out". It was chosen for its apparent eccentricity. Blackgang Chine is also featured in a documentary based on Bollocks to Alton Towers called Far From the Sodding Crowd. In a recent interview, star of the Harry Potter films, Rupert Grint praised the park, stating that his family's favourite holiday was visiting the Isle of Wight, their favourite attraction being Blackgang Chine.

The park is frequently associated with ghosts, particularly related to smugglers, with several tales of sightings around the park. In 2008 a video was recorded, showing what appeared to be the apparition of a girl in a blue dress.

Southern Vectis bus route 6 serves the amusement park on its way between Newport & Ventnor. In the summer, the Island Coaster also stops here.


Sited below the village of Blackgang at the western end of the Undercliff, Blackgang Chine was, historically, a spectacular ravine (in 1800 a "steep gaunt ravine" descending 500 feet over about three-quarters of a mile).

The location is based on unstable terrain owing to the underlying Gault Clay strata, resulting in a succession of huge landslips giving the area a very rugged appearance akin to the better known Jurassic Coast. Currently the cliffs are eroding at a rate of about 3.5 metres per year, although this process is not gradual. Large areas of land tend to collapse in stages after periods of heavy rain. The areas most recent and destructive cliff falls occurred in 1928, 1961 and 1994. Continuing landslides and coastal erosion swept away the paths in the early 1900s, and have since obliterated the chine itself and repeatedly forced the park owners to move the clifftop facilities inland.

Park guide

The park combines whimsical and unusual outdoor and walkthrough attractions with award-winning heritage exhibitions and a couple of significant rides. Below is a list of the attractions currently in operation at the park:

Latest developments

In 2010, a new section to the park opened, designed for adult visitors and known as "Blackgang's Disappearing Village". The new section includes a new attraction "BBC Coast" which tells the story of the island's coast and illustrates the cliff falls and erosion that Blackgang has suffered from over the years. In addition to this new attraction, the new section includes older attractions such as the 87' skeleton of the whale, Wight Flight, Timber World, and the shop named Chocolate Heaven. A new cafe restaurant has also been opened adjacent to the village and known as the Ship-Ashore Tea Rooms.

In 2011, a long awaited fairy land section has been constructed near the base of the old fairy castle. Other changes include a newly rebuilt pirate ship and a "rolling barrel challenge" named The Sailors Return.

In 2014, 'Dinosaurland' was replaced by 'Restricted Area 5'. 'Restricted Area 5' is a modernisation of Dinosaurand, featuring animatronic dinosaurs that move and have sound effects (Dinosaurland only had static fibreglass dinosaurs). 3 or 4 of the fibreglass dinosaurs have been moved into restricted area 5, and you are allowed to sit on them. The rest of them have been scrapped.

In 2015, Cowboy Town was remodelled, with new buildings and scenery. A family of animatronic Triceratops were also added to restricted area 5. This replaced the 'mouth of hell', a fibreglass attraction that visitors can climb into. The mouth of hell had been there for a long time, so this was an unpopular move with visitors.

In 2016, The Mouth of Hell was reinstalled, where the Triassic Club used to be. The Triassic club has been removed.


Blackgang Chine Wikipedia

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