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A small number of houses close to the cliffs at Blackgang.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Blackgang forms the west end of the Ventnor Undercliff region, which extends for 12 kilometres from Blackgang to Luccombe, also encompassing the town of Ventnor and the villages of Bonchurch, St Lawrence, and Niton. It also marks the edge of the Back of the Wight.
Historically, Blackgang was a hamlet that expanded into a small village in the mid 19th century, partly out of a Victorian fashion for speculative building of marine villas, and partly in association with the establishment of the amusement park at the chine, the large coastal ravine (historically known for being a haunt of smugglers) after which the park was named. The nearby Sandrock Spring, a chalybeate spring discovered in 1811, was another visitor attraction.
The majority of Blackgang's Victorian coastal development, along with the chine itself, was obliterated by landslides and coastal erosion over the 20th century, part of a general pattern of erosion affecting the Undercliff area. A major landslide severed the old road between Blackgang and Niton in 1928, and subsequent ones destroyed most of the remaining road segment and adjoining houses, as well as the Sandrock Spring in 1978. Currently Blackgang comprises the amusement park (whose buildings incorporate some of the village's former residential houses such as the Blackgang Hotel and Five Rocks), a tearoom, and a few other houses.
Clifftop walks in and around the area give panoramic views of the English Channel and the south-western Isle of Wight coast (the Back of the Wight). Blackgang is also notable for dinosaur fossils (see Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight) and the nudist Blackgang Beach.
On the military road near Blackgang Chine Fantasy Park is an old pub called "the Coach House" and latterly called Merlin's Bistro - now a private house. The road ends not far past Merlin's, as in 1994 a major landslip caused the old road to Blackgang Chine entrance to fall through. The small road with a couple of bungalows (still lived in) is a rather sorry sight, as one of Blackgang Chine's areas still lies there derelict. "Adventureland", as it was known, was a play park area for children. The crooked house (at Blackgang Chine, which has now been moved) once stood here also. The remains of Adventureland include a seesaw structure, the brick remains of a wall that surrounded the crooked house originally stood, "Mission Control" (a Nasa-style space control room with levers and buttons) and an old Wicksteed roundabout that still spins like new. This area was accessible up until very recently. Over the opposite side of the road is the old "White House" guesthouse. It is now just a derelict mess, which is accessible but enter at your own risk.