an­chor­age

This en­chant­ing creek on the Isle of Wight is a must-visit for na­ture lovers, says Peter Bruce

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS -

King’s Quay Creek, Isle of Wight – a must-visit for na­ture lovers

King’s Quay Creek is a de­light­ful tiny dry­ing in­let on the Isle of Wight be­tween Woot­ton Creek and Os­borne Bay. There is some un­cer­tainty as to which monarch gave rise to its ti­tle, though King John seems the most likely. It is cer­tain that Charles I landed here in 1647 but by then, the name was es­tab­lished. There is no quay any­more, but be­fore silt­ing up, King’s Quay Creek is thought to have been a small port. Not many mariners bother to stop here now and if they do, ac­cess by small boat is only pos­si­ble at high wa­ter. Even then, there are off-putting no­tices say­ing ‘no land­ing’ and ‘no moor­ing’ and that the creek is a na­ture re­serve. But a quiet visit on the top of the tide should not cause any af­front – not that I have ever seen any­one else there in over 40 years – and the love­li­ness of this lit­tle par­adise makes it one of the jew­els of the So­lent, cer­tainly wor­thy of ex­plo­ration.

There are no build­ings in sight as you ap­proach by dinghy to­wards the fo­liage-cov­ered marsh­land sur­rounded by trees, called Curlews Copse and Steps Copse, which grows densely on ei­ther side. It is easy to see the way through the shin­gle banks, though you should bear in mind the vari­a­tion in the off­shore chan­nels show­ing upon aerial pho­to­graphs and be alert to fur­ther changes. Fol­low the pas­sage be­tween the marsh­land through what is called the Gut­ter and you will soon come to a bridge with an ar­range­ment of scaf­fold­ing across the chan­nel be­side it, ap­par­ently de­signed to bar fur­ther progress. One is en­ti­tled to go where the sea level al­lows and most dinghies will be able to squeeze past the scaf­fold­ing and into the up­per pool. This shal­low pool is at­trac­tive and on a gen­tle sum­mer’s day, feels mar­vel­lously peace­ful. The pool is fed by a stream called Palmer’s Brook, which ap­pears from the reed bank and leads south up to Wood­house Copse. From there, it works its way through fields and wood­land and rises to­wards the mid­dle of the is­land by Hill­grove. Hav­ing once been to the diminu­tive King’s Quay Creek, na­ture lovers will not for­get its soft beauty and splen­did iso­la­tion, and may well want to re­turn.

Ac­cess to King’s Quay Creek is only by small boat at high wa­ter

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