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Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is a small island in the English Channel situated off the coast of the southern county of Hampshire.

A narrow straight called the Solent separates the island from the mainland. The narrowest part of the Solent is at a point on the mainland called Spithead, which lies to the west of Portsmouth harbour. The water off Spithead was one of the most important anchorages of the Royal Navy.

The Isle of Wight is about twenty-one kilometres from north to south, and thirty-seven kilometres from east to west. The island is approximately three hundred and seventy-six square kilometres in area.

A range of high chalk cliffs runs from east to west across the centre of the island, broken in the centre by the Medina, a river flowing due north. In the eighteenth century, the island north of the central chalk range was well wooded and a source of ship’s timber for the Royal Navy. The island’s cleared regions were used for sheep grazing and much of the population fishing. The Solent was a rich source of marine crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs and prawns.

Related Entries for Isle of Wight
Places: Dunnose Point
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Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Created: 4 October 2001
Modified: 10 December 2003

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000024

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