My partner and I happened across this place whilst driving between Shanklin and Ventnor. I lived on the Island for many years but never knew about it - what a delightful find!
We were only on the Island for a couple of days and time was limited, so we couldn't explore as much as we would have liked and to be honest, we were unprepared for a long trek along what we later discovered was described as an activity for "Experienced Walkers". So, unsuitably armed with a pair of flat shoes each and a disturbing lack of a flask of tea, we descended into the Devils Chimney.
What was exceptionally refreshing whilst exploring this small chunk of Jurassic Park was the apparent lack of the sanitised "'elf & safety" measures too often present in more touristy areas. The paths had been reasonably maintained albeit for the odd missing plank on the walkways but it really is the old fashioned "Enter at your own risk" type of environment that people of my age remember from our childhood (and we are still here to recall it). Verdant lush ferns mix with bee ridden buddleias and fallen branches while we deviated along the ad hoc lanes created by adventurous meanderthals.
You can see where the fossil hunters had been furtively prospecting in the rocks and I can imagine that all sorts of prehistoric artifacts have been found in the past (we did spot a stubborn Ammonite poking out of a rock face).
After chatting to the shy, well hidden Red Squirrels, we sat on the Wishing Rock and rested our weary calves. I am sure that my partner had wished for a bucket of tea because as we wended our way back to the car park, we found the oh so welcome and perfectly placed Smugglers Haven Tea Rooms.
We plan to take a whole day exploring this incredibly beautiful area on our next visit to the Island. This time armed with proper walking shoes. And tea.
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