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 ABOUT THE UNDERCLIFF

The Undercliff, a seven mile long sheltered coastal terrace, was originally formed by a major landslip which occurred thousands of years ago. The area has evolved a complex natural balance which is increasingly under threat from the pressures of modern life.

 


When our Victorian forefathers discovered the Undercliff they found a rugged and dramatic landscape. Barren, rocky tracts of land contrasted with deep, dark, hidden woods which were strewn with moss covered boulders. Ivy clad, precipitous cliffs with dark caves which lurked beneath their jagged clefts.






Encircled and protected from the north by steep chalk downs, this ancient landslip has hidden its secret beauties for centuries. The tiny fishing village which was to become Ventnor was swiftly exploited to be dubbed “Englands Madiera”. The town expanded and spread eastwards, northwards and westwards-towards the Heart of the Undercliff. For over a century developers built, often indiscriminately, on every available ledge. Ventnor was frequently under threat from grandiose schemes.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally in 1963, the Undercliff to the west and east of the town was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) by the National Parks Commission,
In spite of current constraints and restrictions on the land usage, due to the Structure Plan for the area, there is a continued threat from would be developers.

 

 

 

 


The rugged coastline west of the town remains unspoilt and a diverse variety of wildlife finds refuse and thrives here, and along the coastal terrace.
Due to its southerly location, the climate of the Undercliff is mild. The reflection of sun on water warms the vertical cliff faces and the springy downland turf, providing an ideal habitat for variety of unusual plants and animals.

 

 

PLACES OF INTEREST