Frehwater you cannot drink!
"Home to the new Jimi Hendrix memorial"
I visited again after more than 30 years to Freshwater Bay.
There is now a memorial to Jimi Hendrix here.
I even visited here during the Isle Of Wight Pop Festival
in 1971 in August. Jimi passed away the following month
Many pictures coming soon!
When I was 11 One hot Saturday I was lucky to go with some of the
other lads and young guys working in the butchers shop,
in the butchers van over to Afton Down Nr. Freshwater on the other side
of the Island to the Isle Of Wight Pop Festival. Nearly half a million
visitors visited the festival and it looked more like the Kumba Mela in
India with a sea of people. I remember Tiny Tim was playing as we
drove by and then Miles Davis.
This was the last UK venue for Jimmy Hendrix before he died 18 days
later. On the beach there were thousands of naked people bathing and
just wandering around. One of the boys in my class at school, his father
owned the land and he told us stories about the stars staying in the
farmhouse. He met Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, The Who, Janis Joplin,
Donavan and all sorts of people .
I remember seeing condoms and syringes washed up
on the beaches for weeks to come and a queue of hippies
at Ryde pier miles long, hundreds of stranded hippies.
Even a convoy of about 50 motorbikes,
mostly Hells Angels on Harleys .
Getting to see all this blew my mind.
The Original Summer Of Love
There are two parts to Freshwater, the main town and Freshwater Bay. Freshwater is positioned at the western tip of the Island. The town offers a good range of quaint shops in the town centre, and like Yarmouth, Freshwater is busy all year round. It is the main shopping town for residents of the West Wight. There are a wealth of hotels and holiday centres, touring parks and self-catering cottages, which capitalise on the towering white cliffs, rolling downland and beautiful beaches at Freshwater Bay, Totland and Colwell.
Freshwater Bay is open to the Channel and takes the brunt of the prevailing winds in the winter months. Here you can see the rolling waves coming in from the Channel, crashing against the cliffs. In the summer months, however, the waters are calm and still and where the beach is pebbly , the waters are clear.
Freshwater has been attracting people for years. The Farringford Hotel was the home to Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote much of his work at this superb property, which looks out towards Freshwater Bay. It’s as inspiring now as it was then.
Margaret Cameron, a noted Victorian photographer, attracted many members of Victorian society, whom she photographed at her home in Freshwater Bay. Dimbola Lodge is now a trust and preserves much of her work. You can see the picture I took there above.
If you like walking, the West Wight area and Freshwater are for you. The downs at Tennyson and Freshwater are able to provide stunning views and scenery. You will be able to walk towards Alum Bay and pass this beautiful bay, with its deep blue, clear waters. When you get onto the downs, you can see the Needles, white spires of chalk which rise up from the sea with the lighthouse at the end. This lighthouse guides ships safely past the treacherous rocks. Whilst there, check out the battlements and concrete structures which were used to forward rocket science. Check out ISLE OF WIGHT pages or Needles tips here.The Black Knight Rocket was tested from here. Not bad for a sleepy Island!
The coastline which runs from Yarmouth to Totland Bay, provides stunning beaches, with clear warm waters. The beaches are well serviced by cafés etc. and to sit in the sun, watching yachts and boats battle against the currents of the Solent, whilst your children play safely, is an experience you will never forget. Doubtless you’ll want to come back again…
"The massy cliffs of Freshwater now appear before us. A long declivity conducts us to Freshwater Gate. The village is furnished with a neat Inn; and about a mile distant, at the head of the Warren leading to Alum Bay, is a good boarding house; here, as well as at the Inn, the visitor may be pleasantly accommodated. In the dark and stormy season of the year, the sea sometimes rolls on this coast with such violence, as to break over the cottages and reach to the head of the river Yar."
From The Beauties of the Isle of Wight published by Horsley about 1830
"Our young sea village is as delightful and bracing a spot as one could wish to settle in or near. Casual visitors must not infer from the apparent newness of the scattered villas here and in the neighbourhood generally that they are all the growth of the last few years. The air is so transparently clear, so clear from smoke and grime, that it seems to be a matter of difficulty to tone the houses down to a becoming degree of mellowness. In 1799 the only habitation in the place was a dilapidated in known as the "Cabin" frequently tenanted by George Morland, the famous painter.
The beautiful, though tiny, bay is unlike anything else in the Island. Evidently at one time it was non existent, and the cliffs presented an unbroken front to the ocean. Now the former boundary is marked by huge half sunken rocks, over which, when the wind is in the right quarter, the surf dashes wildly."