Dover to Isle of Wight
The beautiful cliffs of Dover are a breathtaking sight. On this stretch
of the coastline chalk has not only defined and shaped the landscape but
has also been the starting point of many innovators and their pioneering
Our guide Neil Oliver takes over from Nicholas Crane this series, and
guides us along this journey of beautiful scenery and remarkable discoveries.
The Channel Tunnel new thought or had we been there before?
this was not a 20th Century idea. The first suggestion that a tunnel should
be built between the UK and France was proposed by the Amiens Academy
(in France) in 1751, but it wasnt until 1833 that the first systematic
investigation was carried out.
A French engineer called Thome de Gammond knew that chalk was good for
tunnelling and carried out several dives to the bottom of the Channel
to find out if chalk was present.
was, but he couldn't raise the money to start tunnelling.
Neil Oliver ventures to the bottom of the sea in his quest to discover
the history of building a tunnel across the English Channel. On his journey
he discovers the first ever trial tunnel for such a scheme dates back
Dungeness Nature Reserve
Oliver travels on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway to Dungeness
which has the largest English shingle bank. Now a massive nature reserve,
it's home to countless insect varieties and two nuclear power stations.
Neil meets Owen Leyshon, warden to the nature reserve to find out about
its rich landscape which is home to a third of all plant species in Britain.
Beneath the chalk cliffs, in the depths of the Channel, the chalk ledges
on the sea bed are a marine environment that we know very little about.
For Miranda Krestovnikoff, this is a first as she dives with a team from
Seasearch to investigate and record information about the number of animals
and plants on these chalk ledges.
Hastings Architectural Masterpieces
the 1930's Sydney Little, a local borough engineer, transformed the sea
front. Using revolutionary materials and a little radical thinking he
created some of this coasts hidden gems. Neil Oliver uncovers his work
from the Carlisle Parade car park to what was once one of the biggest
outdoor pools in Europe, the Hastings & St Leonards Bathing Pool.
Directions to the original site for Hastings & St Leonards Bathing
Pool: The old site is at the west end of the sea front, and is now a large
Beachy Head - Eroding Coastline
some time there has been concern over the erosion of this part of the
coastline, resulting in drastic action being taken in 1999 when the Belle
Tout Lighthouse was physically moved 17 metres inland from the edge of
Nicholas Crane meets Professor Rory Mortimore to look closely at why
the cliffs are eroding and discovers that they are being sabotaged by
more than just the waves crashing beneath them.
Limpets attach themselves to the rock by secreting an acid so that they
can create a space, this is dissolving he chalk and lowering the shore
platform, resulting in deeper water for waves to attack the base of the
cliffs. But while a living organism attacks the chalk, it also is the
reason it's there in the first place as the chalk is made from the shells
produced by an algae called Emiliana Huxleyi.
Is Southampton the oldest active port?
Horton investigates Southampton's claim to be the oldest continually active
port and talks to city archaeologist Andy Russel about its history.
He starts his journey on The Solent in a half scale replica of a Saxon
ship found during an archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo.
The Saxon connection to Southampton is strong. After all the town began
life as Hamwic (founded c 650-70). Recently an early Saxon cemetery has
been found beneath the football Stadium containing weapons and jewellery,
some of which originate from the continent.
On his journey Mark discovers that Southampton owes its success to as
much to its geography as anything else. It has what's called a double
tide, resulting in a longer high tide than anywhere else on the South
For more information contact: Andy
Isle of Wight - UK's Space Race of the 60's
The Isle of Wight played a key role in both Britain's space and nuclear
missile programme in the 1960's.
The site at Highdown, just above The Needles was at the forefront of
technology and research into how rockets behaved both in space and when
they re-entered the atmosphere. To conduct these experiments a rocket
called Black Knight was built and tested.
Alice Roberts joins engineers from the original research team and discovers
that not only did Black Knight accomplish its mission, but its successor,
Black Arrow launched the British satellite 'Prospero' into space. But
funding for the space project was withdrawn in favour of developing Concorde,
the legendary supersonic plane.
But even now, with the luxury plane grounded, its legend overshadows
the space pioneers. A visit to the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune,
Scotland, reveals Concorde displayed in pride of place, while the Black
Arrow is currently relegated to a storage room.
Shanklin Chine Operation Pluto
Chine provided an important connection for the Second World War. The pipe
laid here connected a pipe network from the port of Liverpool across to
France to transport fuel to help the allied invasions. Known as Operation
Pluto, the project was an ambitious and remarkable piece of engineering,
with the pipe being laid across the Channel in just 10 hours.
Would you like to find out what
music was used in this programme?
Dover to Isle of Wight: Thursday 26 Oct, 8pm on BBC TWO