Sunnycott Caravan Park, Isle of Wight. Ideal holiday location for exploring the island !
Self catering holiday caravans on the Isle of Wight    01983 292859 
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Buildings of interest on the Isle Of Wight

Ryde Pier is an early 19th century pier serving the town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.
Before the pier was built, passengers to Ryde had the uncomfortable experience of coming ashore on the back of a porter and then, dependant on the state of the tide, having to walk anything up to half a mile across wet sand before reaching the town. The need for a pier was obvious, not least if the town was to attract the wealthy and fashionable visitors who were beginning to patronise other seaside resorts across England.
Designed by John Kent of Southampton, the foundation stone of Ryde Pier was laid on 29th June 1813. The completed pier opened on 26th July 1814, and was, as it still is, a timber-planked promenade. The structure was originally wholly timber, and measured 527m. By 1833, extensions took the overall length to 681m. A second 'tramway' pier was built next to the first pier, opening on 29th August 1864. Horse-drawn trams took passengers from the pier head to the esplanade. Later, the trams were powered by electric winches.
On 12th July 1880 a third pier was opened, alongside the first two, providing a direct steam railway link to the pier-head. In 1895 a concert pavilion was constructed at the pier-head and over the next sixteen years the original wooden piles were replaced in cast iron. It was at Ryde Pier that the Empress Eugénie landed from Sir John Burgoyne's yacht " The Gazelle" after her flight from Paris in 1870.
The pier head was remodelled in the 1930s using concrete, and during the Second World War the pier was used for military purposes, with various modifications made to accommodate this.
The tramway pier closed in 1969 and was partially dismantled. This left a gap which still exists between the railway and promenade piers, in which the rotting iron piles of the tramway pier are very plainly visible. The pier was made a Grade II listed building in 1976. In the early 1980s a modern waiting area, including some of the original buildings, replaced the original Victorian waiting rooms at the pier-head.
Today the pier is still a major gateway for passenger traffic to and from the Isle of Wight, with the Island Line train running from the pier head, via Ryde Esplanade down to the eastern side of the island. The Wightlink catamaran runs regularly between Ryde and Portsmouth. Unusually, it is possible to drive down the pier, and there is car parking on the large pier head.

Fort Albert is a tower fort nestling under the cliffs west of Fort Victoria on the Isle of Wight, England. It was also known as Cliff End Fort.
Fort Albert, with Hurst Castle in the backgroundIt was completed by 1856, but like the American Third System forts it resembles in miniature, it would have suffered badly from rifled gunfire, so the Royal Commission enhanced it with batteries on the cliffs above. The fort is in private ownership and not open to the public, and indeed there is no public access even to the cliff tops which overlook it. It is most easily viewed from the sea, or from Hurst Castle.
The fort itself has been converted into private flats, and the battery, which is in declining condition due to neglect and coastal erosion, is part of a chalet estate.

Golden Hill Fort was a defensible barracks built as part of the Palmerston defences by the 1859 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom to provide manpower to man the defences at the western end of the Isle of Wight, England. The Fort is a local landmark which is in a very prominent position overlooking much of the land looking south towards Afton Down. Whilst operational, the area was kept clear of vegetation to allow views out to the Solent. The name Golden Hill refers not to the spectacular golden display of gorse but to an historic landowner, Gauden.
The building, which is a Grade 1 Listed Building, is now in private ownership and not open to the public. It is derelict and has been unused for many years, although conversion to residential use is now underway and should be complete in early 2006.
The view of the country park and beyond, the West Wight, from Golden Hill FortThe surrounding land is managed as a country park by the Isle of Wight Council, and is an open grassland with bridleways, viewpoints and a small car park.
The soil types on which it stands are complex and support a wide range of plants, including the chalk loving yellow-wort and dwarf thistle, dyer’s greenweed, a feature of neutral soils and gorse which is associated with more acid soils. These attract a good range of butterflies. The habitats vary and there is a transition between open grassland, scrub and woodland.

St Helens Fort was built between 1867 and 1880 as a result of the Royal Commission, in the Solent close in to the Isle of Wight to protect the St Helens Road anchorage, it suffered badly from subsidence which forced many changes to the plans, ending up with 2 10" eighteen ton RML guns to landward and 1 12.5" thirty-eight ton RML to seaward.
The fort is now in private hands and not open to the public.

The Nab Tower is the only one completed of six towers planned for anti-submarine protection in the Straits of Dover in WWI. It was sunk over the Nab rocks east of the Isle of Wight to replace a lightship after the war, and is a well known landmark for sailors in the Solent.

The Medieval Quarr Abbey 1132-1902
The ancient Quarr Abbey was founded in 1132 by Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Devon and fourth lord of the Isle of Wight. The name Quarr comes from `quarry', because there used to be a stone quarry in the neighbourhood, and so the original title of the monastery was the Abbey of our Lady of the Quarry. Stone from the quarry was used in the Middle Ages for both ecclesiatical and military buildings, for example for parts of the Tower of London. The founder was buried in the Abbey and his remains and those of his wife, Princess Cicely, daughter of King Edward IV, still lie on the site of the medieval monastery. Little now remains of the buildings of the abbey, which was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536. The greater part of the abbey was demolished and its stone used for fortifications at the nearby towns of Cowes and Yarmouth. One of the three abbey bells is preserved in the belfry of the nearby Anglican parish church, originally built by the monks of Quarr Abbey for their lay dependents. Stone was also used to build Quarr Abbey House.

The Quarr Abbey House of the early 20th century was one of a series of fine houses built along the north coast of the Isle of Wight. It was a residence of the Cochrane family, one member of which was the daring Admiral Lord Cochrane (1775-1860), "le loup des mers" ("the sea wolf") famous for his part in the liberation of Chile, Peru and Brazil from colonial dominion and whose life and exploits inspired the fiction of novelists Captain Marryat, C.S. Forester, Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell. His nephew Admiral Sir Thomas John Cochrane (1779-1872) lived at Quarr Abbey House and his daughter Minna was lady-in-waiting to Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Queen Victoria. Thus it came about that it was at Quarr Abbey House that Princess Beatrice spent her honeymoon after her marriage to Prince Henry of Battenberg on July 23, 1885 at St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham on the Isle of Wight, where Henry was sadly to be interred only a few months later, in what became known as the Battenberg Chapel [1]. Queen Victoria visited Quarr Abbey House and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and the German Kaiser William II watched the sailing boats from the balcony of the House during the annual Cowes Week Regatta. Only ten days before her death, Queen Victoria recorded in her diary that Minna Cochrane and her daughter Beatrice had played duets to her. After the Queen's death at Osborne House, the Cochrane family and others ceased to frequent the island so assiduously. Quarr Abbey House was left in the hands of a caretaker and put on the market.

The Exile of Solesmes
Throughout the nineteenth century there were laws in force in France to the effect that religious orders were not allowed except by special law, but the application varied with the changes of government. A major crisis came in 1880, when congregations were ordered to apply for authorization with three months. Although at first brutally applied to men's communities, protests meant that gradually these measures became a dead letter the congregations were re-constituted. However, on July 1, 1901, the regime of tolerance towards religious communities came to an end with the passing of a new law.

Immediately after the passing of the legislation, Abbot Paul Delatte (1848-1937) of the Benedictine abbey of Solesmes sent a monk to England to look for a house to shelter the community. In fact the founder of Solesmes, Prosper Guéranger, had had thought of England as a possible place of refuge should the community have to go into exile. Moreover, since 1896, at the invitation of the former Empress Eugénie, the Solesmes Benedictines had taken over as a priory the former Premonstratensian house of Farnborough Abbey, which sheltered the tomb of Napoleon III.

In this new emergency, several places were considered as a possible refuge. Farnborough was far too small. Other possibilities included the ancient abbey of Battle near Hastings on the Kent coast of England. However, the Solesmes monks were in urgent need of a home and the transactions at Battle Abbey would have been lengthy and the expense beyond their limited means.

A New Home at Appuldurcombe House
Finally, at the end of July attention was drawn to a suitable `large house on the Isle of Wight which seems to meet the requirements of the monks', Appuldurcombe House near Wroxall on the Isle of Wight. The house was viewed and accepted, and a lease contract was signed on August 19, 1901. A former monastic site, the construction of the house had been begun in 1701 by Sir Robert Worsley on the site of a Tudor manor house and completed much later (1773) by Sir Richard Worsley, who from 1787 also established there what was to become a well-known art collection. On the death of Sir Richard in 1805, the estate passed to his niece, who was married to the second Baron and first Earl of Yarborough. The family connection with the house ended in 1855, when the estate was sold off by her son, the second Earl of Yarborough.

The monks wasted no time in beginning their transfer from Solesmes to the Isle of Wight and on Saturday September 21, 1901 practically the entire community of Solesmes reached Appuldurcombe.

Already by September 1904 the community at Appuldurcombe was considering that it might prove necessary to seek another home. They had been at Appuldurcombe for three years, and the lease must have been renewed about this time for another four years. Nevertheless, they had begun to look around for another property, probably because they were already aware of the unreasonable attitude of the landlord, who refused to undertake any repairs, so that the community would have the alternative of continuing to renew the lease on a property which they would have to keep in repair themselves, or buying it outright in a state of disrepair.

The Acquisition of Quarr Abbey House
The lease on Appuldurcombe, initiated in 1901, had to be renewed or terminated at the end of three years, four years or seven years. The second period would come to an end in 1908 and if the intention was to abandon the lease, notice had to be given on January 1, 1908. To abandon the lease obviously meant that new accommodation would have to be found. Consequently on Saturday January 5, 1907 the estate agents Wallis Riddett were contacted and serious consideration began to be given to the possibility of acquiring Quarr Abbey House and its estate which had featured in their portfolio of properties since 1902.
A New Abbey Built
The first monks arrived at Quarr Abbey House from Appuldurcombe on June 25, 1907 to prepare the way by making ready the grounds and the beginnings of a kitchen garden. They also put up fencing round the property, establish a chicken farm and prepare an orchard.
One of the monks, Dom Paul Bellot aged 31, was an architect and it fell to him to design and draw up the plans for the new abbey, some distance from the ruins of the medieval monastery, on the site of Quarr Abbey House. Under the direction of the monk-architect, 300 builders from the Isle of Wight, accustomed only to building dwelling-houses, raised a building whose design and workmanship is admired by all who visit the Abbey. The building of the refectory and three sides of the cloister began immediately in 1907 and was completed within less than a year. The rest of the monks came from Appuldurcombe and in April 1911 work began on the Abbey church and was completed in an amazingly short time, so that it was consecrated in the following year, on October 12, 1912.
In 1922, after the the First World War and the many changes it brought with it, the community of Solesmes returned to France. A small community of monks was left at Quarr, which became an independent house, first as a priory, and then from 1937 as an abbey. Gradually English monks were recruited to the community, so that today the community has no French members.



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Sunnycott Caravan Park welcomes Cowes visitors

Sunnycott Caravan Park · Rew Street · Gurnard · Cowes · Isle Of Wight · PO31 8NN
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