The last time the chines were considered to be landing places was during World War II. At this time concrete fortifications were installed in Whale Chine and Grange Chine where it was feared enemy troops could swarm ashore, circumventing the high cliff-line. Shanklin Chine was used as an assault course by the Commandoes in training for the Dieppe raid of 1942.
PLUTO: Pipe line Under the Ocean
A top-secret pipeline was laid through Shanklin chine on its long course under the Channel to carry petrol to the D-Day landing beaches in France during Word War II. Developed specifically for this unique task, 710 miles of pipe were constructed by companies across the UK and even America.The concept was conceived in early 1942. After rigorous testing it took two-and-a-half years to produce the pipeline, but just ten hours to lay it across the channel. At full capacity the pipeline delivered half a million gallons of fuel per day to the allied forces. A portion of this pipeline can still be seen at the mouth of Shanklin Chine.
The original Military Road was constructed as part of a coastal defence network in about 1860, including the brick viaduct which still carries the road over Grange Chine. The road provided access from the Palmerston Forts in the West Wight and the beaches and chines which were vulnerable to enemy landings. The route fluctuated between private and military use with gates at the ends of the road restricting access for the next 70 years.
In around 1930, the landowner Sir Charles Seely donated what was then a narrow track to the Isle of Wight Council for public use. Parts of the original track were vulnerable to erosion and new sections were constructed further inland. Some vestiges of the original track are still visible along the coast. Various sections of the road are still under threat from coastal erosion. The section of road near Shippards Chine is particularly precarious, as is a stretch between Brook and Churchill chines. In December 2009 the cliff was over twelve metres from the road, by March 2010 the cliff edge was only a metre away. The desire to retain the Military Road has often changed the evolution of the chine network. Drainage at Shippards Chine has prevented the chine continuing to migrate inland. At Brook drainage to try and save a section of road has increased flows into Churchill Chine which could contribute to faster growth of this relatively new chine.
PLUTO image courtesy of Danny Hope