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THE SOLENT - 5 SURPRISING FACTS

THE NEEDLES, ISLE OF WIGHT - Photo by Julian White

1 The Solent, or strait, was formed more than 7,000 years ago when the Isle of Wight separated from the mainland.

2 A recent theory is that the Solent may have been a lagoon with the River Frome in Dorset as its source, together with its tributaries the Rivers Avon, Test & Itchen.

3 The Solent River estuary gradually flooded at the end of the Ice Age. The chalk ridge between the Needles, at the western tip of the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and the Old Harry Rocks, at the southern end of Studland Bay, Dorset now 12.5 nautical miles away by boat, completely eroded away.

OLD HARRY ROCKS, STUDLAND BAY, DORSET - Photo by JonVin

4 The Solent is today about 20 miles long and between 4 and 1 miles wide, and is one of the most sheltered channels in Europe, with an unusual double tide.

NEEDLES TO OLD HARRY ROCKS BY CAR - Google Maps

5 Today it’s quicker by sail ! Google Maps suggests it will take 2hr 45mins by car to travel from the Needles to Old Harry Rocks, a distance of 37 or 56 statute miles, depending on which route you choose. With fair winds and a following sea a leisurely sail between the Needles and Old Harry Rocks can take less than 2 hrs by sailing boat and will undoubtedly provide the best and most spectacular viewpoints for both of these ancient world-famous prehistoric natural monuments !

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