Atherfield Bay and the Isle of Wight: An Introduction

There is far more to European Britain than cheap car insurance sites like The Isle of Wight is England's largest island, and lies just a few miles across the Solent Strait. Generally, it is reached by taking a hovercraft across the strait. The isle has clean white beaches and high cliffs; bats, dormice, and birds are the main wildlife that have made homes there. It has a thriving boat building industry centred on Cowes, a charming and busy international sailing and tourist mecca. The island is a respite from the freeway ridden, bustling crowds of the mainland cities. It is a place you go to when you want to feel the wind in your hair and smell the saltiness of the sea. Aside from Cowes, other towns of the isle are Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, and Ventnor. Ryde is the largest. Its pier and shopping are its hallmarks. An 18 hole golf course is Sandown's contribution to the isle, and Ventnor offers a magnificent view of the bay from its steep cliff location.

The Isle of Wight was a place beset by repeated Viking offensives, with raids taking place regularly. Later, the Normans appointed a lord to oversee the island. There was a King of Wight anointed by King Edward VI. Henry XVIII installed a Royal Navy base on the island as a first line of defence against Spanish aggressions. In the English civil war, King Charles sought refuge on the isle, but to his dismay was thrown into prison there. Many years later, Queen Victoria made it her favourite get away place and built Osborne Castle there. Some of her guests at the castle were Charles Dickens and Lord Tennyson. Over the years, the place has become a favourite writing place for writers from all over the world. Karl Marx and Winston Churchill spent time on the isle, strolling the beaches and enjoying the magnificent landscape during breaks from their writing and political activities.

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Atherfield Bay is on the southwest side of the island, and is one of the richest sources of cretaceous fossils as well brachiosaurus dinosaur bones. In fact, the isle has sometimes been called "dinosaur island", because the fossils found there date back as much as 30 million years. The thick clay layers that have accrued over millions of years hold perfect fossils of sea and land creatures. Most recently, one fossil hunter had to be rescued from his climb up a 1000 foot high bank where he was searching for such fossils. There are a number of hotels and cottages for guests. Recently many new developments have been completed, with more planned. The sea offers much joyous sailing adventures for visitors. It is easy to forget the cares of everyday life on the isle. The Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival brings music lovers from every country. There have been rock music festivals there that brought the biggest crowds of any such festivals. Performers who sing Reggae, Pop, Folk, and other types of songs come to entertain and to join in the fun of around the clock music.