A chine ( /ˈtʃaɪn/) is a steep-sided coastal gorge where a river flows to the sea through, typically, soft eroding cliffs of sandstone or clays. The word is still in use in central Southern England—notably in East Devon, Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight—to describe such topographical features. The term 'bunny' is sometimes used to describe a chine in Hampshire. The term chine is also used in some Vancouver suburbs in Canada to describe similar features.

Chine forming on soft cliffs at Compton, Isle of Wight
Chine forming on soft cliffs at Compton, Isle of Wight
Shanklin Chine c1910 - Project Gutenberg eText 17296
Shanklin Chine, circa 1910.

Formation and features

Chines appear at the outlet of small river valleys when a particular combination of geology, stream volume, and coastal recession rate creates a knickpoint, usually starting at a waterfall at the cliff edge, that initiates rapid erosion and deepening of the stream bed into a gully leading down to the sea.[1]

All chines are in a state of constant change due to erosion. The Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, for example, has been destroyed by landslides and coastal erosion during the 20th century. As the walls of the chines and cliffs are so unstable and erode continually, particularly those of the south coast of the Isle of Wight, the strata are clearly visible. Chines are, therefore, very important for their fossil records, their archaeology and the unique flora and fauna, such as invertebrates and rare insects, for which they provide shelter.[2]

On the UK mainland

Bournemouth area 1759 map
Section of a 1759 map of Hampshire by Isaac Taylor, showing several chines between Christchurch and Poole (including Bourne Chine, the future location of Bournemouth town centre).

In Devon, Sherbrooke Chine is west of Budleigh Salterton,[3] and Seaton Chine is at the western end of the West Walk esplanade, Seaton. In Dorset, west of Bournemouth are found Flaghead Chine, Branksome Chine, Alum Chine, Middle Chine and Durley Chine, and east towards Boscombe, Boscombe Chine and Honeycombe Chine. Bournemouth town centre itself is built in the former Bourne Chine (the Pleasure Gardens being the original valley floor), although urban development since the late 19th century has altered the topography somewhat. Becton Bunny and Chewton Bunny are other examples of chines near Barton on Sea, Hampshire ("Bunny" being the New Forest equivalent to "Chine").[4][5]

A rare example of the use of 'Chine' in a non-coastal setting is Chineham, a civil parish near Basingstoke.

On the Isle of Wight

Shepherd's Chine - - 495617
Shepherd's Chine, Isle of Wight

There are twenty chines on the Isle of Wight, to which fascinating folklore is attached because of their history with local smuggling, fishing and shipwrecks. The popular tourist attraction of Shanklin Chine is also famous for its involvement in the Second World War, when it was used to carry one of the Operation Pluto pipelines and as training area for the 40 Royal Marine Commando battalion before the 1942 Dieppe Raid.[6]

Geologically, the chines in Alum Bay, in Totland (Widdick Chine), and the three in Colwell Bay (Colwell Chine, Brambles Chine and Linstone Chine) are in Tertiary rocks. The remainder on the island's south coast are in Cretaceous rocks.

An inventory of chines on the Isle of Wight follows, listing chines clockwise from Cowes:[2]

In Canada

The Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam has a neighbourhood called Harbour Chines that was built in the 1950s, along with the adjoining neighbourhood of Chineside to the east. Both are situated upon the tops of cliffs that overlook a large number of streams flowing down to the adjoining suburb of Port Moody's Chines Park, from where they flow to Burrard Inlet, onwards out to the Georgia Strait of the Salish Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. [7]

See also


  1. ^ Chines on the Isle of Wight: Channel Adjustment and Basin Morphology in Relation to Cliff Retreat, Katharine E. Flint, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 148, No. 2 (Jul., 1982), pp. 225-236
  2. ^ a b Modelling flow, erosion and long-term evolution of incising channels: managing hydrology and geomorphology for ecology, Norton, Leyland & Darby, Sediment Dynamics and the Hydromorphology of Fluvial Systems, International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 2006, ISBN 1-901502-68-6 Google Books, retrieved 3 August 2008
  3. ^ Complete England, Reginald JW Hammond, Ward Lock, 1974
  4. ^ West, Ian. 2008. Barton and Highcliffe - Coast Erosion and Sea Defences: Geology of the Wessex Coast of southern England. Internet site: Version: 25 July 2008.
  5. ^ Chewton Bunny Archived 11 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Old Hampshire Gazetteer
  6. ^ Isle of Wight, Gem of the Solent, June Elford, Coach House Publications, 2004, ISBN 1-899392-33-5 Google Books, retrieved 5 July 2008
  7. ^ Map of Harbour Chines and Chineside neighbourhoods, Coquitlam, BC, Canada [1]


1901 China expedition commemorative medal

The 1901 China expedition commemorative medal (French: "Médaille commémorative de l'expédition de Chine (1901)") was a French military campaign medal established by the law of 15 April 1902 to recognize service in China in 1900 and 1901 during the Boxer rebellion.

In May 1900, an uprising throughout Northern China threatened the interests of nations with established concessions in major cities and leased territories in the empire of China. This hostility against these powers was mainly driven by a secret nationalist and xenophobic group called "the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists", hence the name "Boxers" given to its members.It was decided by eight major powers (Germany, Austria, United States, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Russia) to establish an international army of 150,000 men under the supreme command of German Field Marshal Count von Waldersee to rescue their besieged compatriots in Peking and put down the rebellion in the provinces. Allied troops entered Peking on 14 August 1900 but a peace treaty with China was only signed on 7 September 1901.


Blackgang is a village on the south-western coast of the Isle of Wight. It is best known as the location of the Blackgang Chine amusement park which sits to the south of St Catherine's Down.

Blackgang forms the west end of the Ventnor Undercliff region, which extends for 12 kilometres from Blackgang to Luccombe, also encompassing the town of Ventnor and the villages of Bonchurch, St Lawrence, and Niton. It also marks the edge of the Back of the Wight.

Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine is the oldest amusement park in the United Kingdom, having opened in the 1840s. Named after a now-destroyed chine (a coastal ravine) in the soft Cretaceous cliffs, it is about 6 miles from Ventnor at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight just below St Catherine's Down. Blackgang Chine and its sister park Robin Hill are owned by the Dabell family. Blackgang Chine is home to a series of imaginatively themed lands, including a Pirate Cove, a realm of Dinosaurs, an Underwater Kingdom, a Fairy Village and a Cowboy Town. Owing to the unstable land on which the park is situated, landslides occur frequently, meaning that attractions have been moved further inland to safer ground on several occasions.

China Versus Allied Powers

Le Congrès des Nations en Chine, released in the US as China Versus Allied Powers and in the UK as China Versus the Allied Nations, and also known as The Congress of Nations in China: A Topical Creation and China Against the Allies, was a 1900 French short silent satirical film directed by Georges Méliès. It was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 327 in its catalogues.

Chine (boating)

A chine in boating refers to a sharp change in angle in the cross section of a hull. A hull without chines has a gradually curving cross section. The term hard chine indicates an angle with little rounding, where a soft chine would be more rounded, but still involve the meeting of distinct planes. Chine log construction is a method of building hard chine boat hulls. Hard chines are common in plywood hulls, while soft chines are often found on fiberglass hulls.

Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition

The Commemorative medal of the 1860 China Expedition (French: Médaille commémorative de l'expédition de Chine de 1860) was a military award of the Second French Empire to reward soldiers and sailors who participated in the Anglo-French expedition to China during the Second Opium War. It was created by imperial decree on 23 January 1861, by Napoleon III.The British Empire had been engaged in an ongoing conflict with the Qing Dynasty since 1856 over legalizing the opium trade, expanding coolie trade, opening all of China to British merchants, and exempting foreign imports from internal transit duties. Following the 1857 general election in the United Kingdom, the new parliament decided to seek redress from China based on the report about the Arrow Incident submitted by Harry Parkes, British Consul to Guangzhou. The French Empire, the United States, and the Russian Empire received requests from Britain to form an alliance. France joined the British action against China, prompted by the execution of a French missionary, Father August Chapdelaine ("Father Chapdelaine Incident"), by Chinese local authorities in Guangxi province. The conflict concluded with the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin finally ratified by the emperor's brother, Yixin, the Prince Gong, in the Convention of Peking on 18 October 1860.

Compton Chine to Steephill Cove SSSI

Compton Chine to Steephill Cove is a 629.2 hectares (1,555 acres) Site of Special Scientific Interest which extends from Compton Chine on the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight along the coast, around St. Catherine's Point to Steephill Cove, just west of Ventnor on the south-east coast of the island. This is the largest SSSI area on the island. The site was notified in 2003 for both its biological and geological features.

Crêpe (textile)

Crêpe, also spelt crepe or crape (from the Fr. crêpe), is a silk, wool, or synthetic fiber fabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance. The term crape typically refers to a form of the fabric associated specifically with mourning. Crêpe is also historically called crespe or crisp.

Dehua porcelain

Dehua porcelain (Chinese: 德化陶瓷; pinyin: Déhuà Táocí; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tek-hòe hûi), more traditionally known in the West as Blanc de Chine (French for "White from China"), is a type of white Chinese porcelain, made at Dehua in the Fujian province. It has been produced from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) to the present day. Large quantities arrived in Europe as Chinese export porcelain in the early 18th century and it was copied at Meissen and elsewhere. It was also exported to Japan in large quantities.

Hull (watercraft)

A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. The hull may open at the top (such as a dinghy), or it may be fully or partially covered with a deck. Atop the deck may be a deckhouse and other superstructures, such as a funnel, derrick, or mast. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.

India ink

India ink (British English: Indian Ink; also Chinese ink) is a simple black or colored ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing and outlining, especially when inking comic books and comic strips. India ink is also used in medical applications.

L'Orphelin de la Chine

L'Orphelin de la Chine (The Orphan of China) is a 1753 French play by Voltaire based on The Orphan of Zhao, a thirteenth-century Chinese play attributed to Ji Junxiang.

Voltaire reworked the structure of the play in order to fit the classical model of French drama. L'Orphelin de la Chine adheres to the theory of three unities, which codified that dramas should conform to the unity of action, unity of time, and unity of place. Voltaire's 1753 version of the drama follows the three-act structure and was later expanded to five acts when it was performed by Comedie Francaise in 1755.

Mainland Southeast Asia

Mainland Southeast Asia (or the Indochinese Peninsula) is the continental portion of Southeast Asia. It lies east of the Indian subcontinent and south of China and is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. It includes the countries of Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The term Indochina (originally Indo-China) was coined in the early nineteenth century. It emphasizes the cultural influence on the area of Indian civilization and Chinese civilization. The term was later adopted as the name of the colony of French Indochina (today's Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos).

Orange RDC

Orange RDC (formerly Congo Chine Télécoms or CCT) is a telecommunications company operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The company was originally a joint venture of Chinese company ZTE, who owned 51%, and the Congolese state, who owned 49%. The company's mobile network began operating in 2001. Its head offices are located in Kinshasa. Orange RDC has about 100 employees. In October 2011 France Télécom (now Orange S.A.) acquired 100% of the company and was renamed Orange RDC on 5 December 2012.

Ryde School with Upper Chine

Ryde School with Upper Chine (or, informally, Ryde School) is a co-educational ISC independent day and boarding school in the seaside town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Among the school's former pupils are the author Philip Norman and the former world-record holder as the youngest cross-Atlantic yachtsman, Seb Clover.

Tribulations of a Chinaman in China

Tribulations of a Chinaman in China (French: Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine) is an adventure novel by Jules Verne, first published in 1879. The story is about a rich Chinese man, Kin-Fo, who is bored with life, and after some business misfortune decides to die.

Turandot, Princess of China

Turandot, Princess of China (French: Turandot, princesse de Chine) is a 1935 comedy film directed by Gerhard Lamprecht and Serge Véber and starring Käthe von Nagy, Pierre Blanchar and Marcel Dalio. It is the French-language version of the German film Princess Turandot. Such multi-language versions were common during the first decade of sound.

The film's sets were designed by the art directors Robert Herlth and Walter Röhrig.

Vectis Formation

The Vectis Formation is a geological formation on the Isle of Wight, England whose strata date back to the Early Cretaceous (lowermost Aptian stage, 125 million years ago). The Vectis Formation is composed of three geological members: the Shepherds Chine member, the Barnes High Sandstone member, and the Cowleaze Chine member. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation.

Warp printing

Warp printing is a fabric production method which combines textile printing and weaving to create a distinctively patterned fabric, usually in silk. The warp threads of the fabric are printed before weaving to create a softly blurred, vague pastel-coloured pattern. It was particularly fashionable in the eighteenth century for summer wear.The silk and taffeta fabrics produced by this technique have a variety of names, including chiné, Pompadour taffeta (after Madame de Pompadour) and chiné à la branche. Chiné velvet was also possible, although the technique was very difficult and expensive and only made in a few places in France in the eighteenth century.


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