River Medina

The River Medina is the main river of the Isle of Wight, England, rising at St Catherine's Down near Blackgang and Chale, and flowing generally northwards through the capital Newport, towards the Solent at Cowes. The river is a navigable tidal estuary from Newport northwards, where it takes the form of a ria (a drowned valley).

Its current state has occurred because the Medina used to be a tributary of what was once the "River Solent" and had a much larger catchment area. As the Solent valley flooded and the island eroded, the river received less water flow and more sediment, causing it to become more tidal.

The river is bridged at Newport. Cowes is connected to East Cowes by a chain ferry known as the Cowes Floating Bridge.[1]

The name Medina comes from the Old English Meðune meaning "the middle one", and the current pronunciation was first recorded as 'Medine' in 1196.[2]

The river is used by yachtsmen as a very safe harbour. Along the banks of the Medina there are many old warehouses and wharves where in the past flying boats, hovercraft and steam ships were developed and built. The Classic Boat Museum displays much of the river's history alongside the history of yachting. The Island Harbour Marina, at the site of an old tidal mill, is also on the river, about two miles from Newport.

As well as the chain ferry, the River Medina has several small ferries which cater mainly for sailors.

Medina, Western Australia is a suburb in Perth named after it.

River Medina
Newport-cowes wb
The Medina estuary showing Newport and Cowes.
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationSt Catherine's Down
 ⁃ location
Length17 km (11 mi)

Views along the river

Medina at Shide

At Shide, on the southern outskirts of Newport

Medina at Newport

At Coppins Bridge, Newport

Newport Quay, IW, UK

Newport Quay, at the head of the estuary

River Medina near Newport, Isle of Wight

The estuary, looking north from Newport

River Medina, Isle of Wight, UK

View from the east bank, about a mile north of Newport

Medina at Cowes (2)

The river's mouth at Cowes, looking west, with the chain ferry in mid-stream

River Medina, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK

Wintry scene, near Newport. Snow here is fairly unusual.

See also


  1. ^ "IWight - Cowes Chain Ferry Homepage". www.iwight.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  2. ^ Popular Dictionary of English Place-Names, OUP, Mills A D (1991)
Classic Boat Museum

The Classic Boat Museum is a museum of boats and of the history of yachting and boating. It is located on the Isle of Wight at two separate sites on either side of the River Medina; The Boat Collection in Cowes, and The Gallery in East Cowes. It is a working museum featuring restoration. Work takes place all year round. In addition to classic boats, the museum contains tools, artefacts, books, photographs, film and archival items that relate to the history of boat building, sailing, yachting, cruising and racing over the last century.


Cowes () is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.

The population was 9,663 in the 2001 census, which doubles during the regatta in early August. The population at the 2011 census was 10,405.

Charles Godfrey Leland's 19th century verses describe the towns poetically as "The two great Cowes that in loud thunder roar/This on the eastern, that the western shore".

Cowes has been seen as a home for international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815. It gives its name to the world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week, which occurs annually in the first week of August. Later, powerboat races are held.

Much of the town's architecture is still heavily influenced by the style of ornate building that Prince Albert popularised.

Cowes Castle

Cowes Castle, also known as West Cowes Castle, is a Device Fort in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Originally built by Henry VIII in 1539 to protect England against the threat of invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, it comprised a circular bastion, flanking wings and a keep, and in 1547 it housed 17 pieces of artillery. With its companion fortification at East Cowes, the castle overlooked the entrance to the River Medina, an important anchorage. The invasion threat passed but the fortification continued in use until the middle of the 19th century, very briefly seeing action in 1642 during the English Civil War.

Decommissioned in 1854, the castle was first leased, and later bought outright, by the Royal Yacht Squadron to form their new clubhouse. The Squadron then employed the architect Anthony Salvin to rebuild large parts of it between 1856 and 1858. It became the headquarters for part of the D-Day invasion force during the Second World War, but has otherwise remained in use by the Squadron and is a distinctive landmark in yacht races along the Isle of Wight.

Cowes Floating Bridge

The Cowes Floating Bridge is a vehicular chain ferry which crosses the River Medina on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. The ferry crosses the tidal river from East Cowes to Cowes. The first floating bridge between the two towns was established in 1859 and the crossing is one of the few remaining that has not been replaced by a physical bridge. The service is owned and operated by the Isle of Wight Council, which has run it since 1901. Prior to ownership by the local authority the service was run by The Floating Bridge Company and The Steam Packet Company (Red Funnel). The ferry currently used is named No. 6, the sixth to be owned by the Isle of Wight Council, and ninth in total. It was built in 2017 and can carry up to 20 cars. The Cowes floating bridge remains the only way to cross the River Medina between the towns without taking a ten-mile trip via Newport. The current vessel was installed on 14 May 2017, but after a string of technical issues the service was suspended by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and a passenger-only replacement service provided by a small launch. After several months of service suspension and intermittent operation, full service finally resumed early in 2018.

East Cowes

East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes.

The two towns are connected by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry operated by the Isle of Wight Council.

East Cowes is the site of Norris Castle, and Osborne House, the former summer residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Prince had a major influence on the architecture of the area, for example on the building of St Mildred's Church in nearby Whippingham, which features distinctive turrets imitating those found on a German castle.

Fairlee, Isle of Wight

Fairlee is a suburb of Newport, on the Isle of Wight, on the east side of the River Medina. Fairlee Road runs through the area. During a week in June each year the main road northbound is completely closed to vehicles during the Isle of Wight Festival. Fairlee Service Station, Seaclose Stores and the Mountbatten Centre, with Medina High School are located in the area.

Flag of the Isle of Wight

The Flag of the Isle of Wight was adopted and registered in January 2009. It shows a diamond shape (the island) hovering over ocean waves. The indentation of the top corner of the diamond represents the River Medina, which is the largest river on the island.


The Guadalmedina (from the Arabic wādi, “river” + medina, "city"; River of the City) is a river that runs through the city of Málaga, Spain. Historically, it has played an important role in the city's history, and has divided the city into two halves. The city’s historic center is located on its left bank.

Island Harbour Marina

Island Harbour Marina, on the Isle of Wight, UK, is a commercial marina on the River Medina in the small hamlet of Binfield. It is located approximately halfway between Cowes and the County Town of Newport. Visiting yachtsmen will find it just past the Folly Inn on the East bank. Being a relatively small marina, it best suits pleasure craft of up to 20 metres in length. The marina accommodates both annual berthholders and short-term visiting craft.As the River Medina is tidal, the marina has lock gates to maintain a sufficient operational depth. It also means that access to the marina by boat is dependent on the state of the tide and the draught of the vessel concerned. A table showing the approximate access times is shown below.

Island Harbour Marina was built in 1966 on the site of a demolished water mill, with the main part of the marina being formed by enlarging the original millponds. The marina's creators and first owners were cousins Alan and Colin Ridett, together with Robert Trapp.As well as arriving by boat, access to the marina can be gained by car, bus and river water taxi. A new riverbank cycle-way has recently been completed between Newport and Island Harbour Marina, with further plans for it to be extended to the Folly Inn in the future.

Medina, Isle of Wight

Medina was a non-metropolitan district with the status of a borough on the Isle of Wight in England from 1974 to 1995.

The district was formed by the Local Government Act 1972, and was a merger of the municipal boroughs of Newport and Ryde along with the urban district of Cowes. It was one of two districts on the Island formed in 1974 - the other was South Wight.

"Medina" was an older name for Newport which has been preserved in the River Medina.

Following a review by the Local Government Commission for England, the borough was abolished on 1 April 1995, when a single Isle of Wight Council replaced the Island's county council and two district councils.

National Cycle Route 23

National Cycle Route 23 (or NCR 23) is a route of the National Cycle Network, running from Reading to Sandown. The partially signed route passes through Basingstoke, Eastleigh and Southampton; once across the Solent, it continues through Cowes and Newport.

Newport, Isle of Wight

Newport is the county town of the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England. The town is in the civil parish of Newport and Carisbrooke. The civil parish had a population of 23,957 at the time of the 2001 census, which rose to 25,496 at the 2011 census. The town lies slightly to the north of the centre of the Island. It has a quay at the head of the navigable section of the River Medina, which flows northward to Cowes and the Solent.

PS Monarch

PS Monarch is one of the three active paddle steamers in the UK. Construction started in 1984 and it was launched in 1994, although the steam plant originated as a 19th-century tar pump from Caerphilly gas works. At only 42 feet long, 8 feet wide and with a capacity for only 12 passengers, she is the world's smallest commercial paddle steamer.The Monarch was designed and built by Brian Waters, who was a key volunteer in finally restoring the paddle steamer Kingswear Castle. It was a dream of his to construct his own paddle steamer from scratch. Construction was originally started in 1984, but it took him almost twenty years before she was finally finished, entering commercial service in 2003.

The PS Monarch was based at Island Harbour Marina on the Isle of Wight for three seasons from 2008 until 2010, offering excursions in the River Medina.

The vessel now operates from Wareham on the River Frome, Dorset.

PS Ryde

PS Ryde is a paddle steamer that was commissioned and run by Southern Railway as a passenger ferry between mainland England and the Isle of Wight from 1937 to 1969, with an interlude during the Second World War where she served as a minesweeper and then an anti-aircraft ship, seeing action at both Dunkirk and D-Day. After many years abandoned on moorings at Island Harbour Marina on the River Medina, she was purchased by the PS Ryde Trust in late 2018, with the intention of raising money for her restoration. That project was abandoned in January 2019.

Seaclose Park

Seaclose Park is a large parkland site situated to the North East of Newport on the Isle of Wight. It lies on the eastern banks of the River Medina. It has a variety of features which are available free to the community of the Island and to visitors. The features of the park include a skate park, three tennis courts, one cricket pitch and wicket, one bowling green, three netball courts and two five-a-side pitches. The park is along Fairlee Road, linking Newport to East Cowes and Ryde.

Seaclose Park is famously the site of the revived Isle of Wight Festival and as such, it has received great publicity and investment to maintain its condition for the Isle of Wight festival.

For 16 December 2009, the park was transformed to a Winter Wonderland after coming top in a competition held by Nokia, with nearly 2,400 votes to have it held on the island.

Shide railway station

Shide railway station was at Shide, on the southern fringes of Newport, Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. It was an intermediate station on the line from Newport to Sandown, which was initially operated by the Isle of Wight (Newport Junction) Railway (incorporated 1868). Shide station opened in 1875 and closed, along with the line itself, in 1956. Situated near Shide Chalk Pits, it was a sparsely used station whose main purpose was to transport raw materials needed for the Island’s cement industry. It was doomed when production ceased during the Second World War. The station site was built over and is now occupied by a warehouse, and the River Medina has since been diverted to flow along the course of the old railway at this point. The old track to the south of the station site is now a cycle route (NCN23).

Southampton Water

Southampton Water is a tidal estuary north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight in England. The city of Southampton lies at its most northerly point. Along its salt marsh-fringed western shores lie the New Forest villages of Hythe and "the waterside", Dibden Bay, and the Esso oil refinery at Fawley. On the slightly steeper eastern shore are the Southampton suburb of Weston, the villages of Netley and Hamble-le-Rice, and the Royal Victoria Country Park.

Together with the Solent, Southampton Water is world-renowned for yachting. It served as one of the sailing and motorboating venues for the 1908 Summer Olympics.Geographically, Southampton Water is classified as a ria, or drowned valley, of the English Channel. It was formed by the rivers Test, Itchen and Hamble which flow into it, and became an inlet of the sea at the end of the last ice age when sea levels rose, flooding many valleys in the south of England. In particular, it is likely that Southampton Water formed partly due to the submerging of the River Solent which previously flowed through the area, and of which the River Test, River Itchen and River Medina are thought to be tributaries.

Southampton's emergence as a major port, and particularly as a port handling very large vessels, depended partly on certain geographical features of Southampton Water. Its depth, even in its undeveloped state, was generous; this depth of water has been increased over the years with comparative ease since the soft silt of the river-bed allows for easy dredging. An additional factor is the phenomenon of the "double tide", which results in unusually prolonged periods of high water. This greatly facilitates the movements of very large ships.

Southampton Water is an estuary with major potential for land use conflicts. An area of urban development (the Waterside) runs in the narrow band of land between Southampton Water and the New Forest National Park. Villages such as Marchwood, Hythe, Dibden Purlieu, Holbury and Fawley have all experienced significant growth.

Standen House

Standen House is an English country house located 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Newport, Isle of Wight. The 18th-century house has a brick front and features seven-bay windows, a porch with Doric columns, and triglyph frieze. Made of brick, it is located at the base of Pan Down. To its right is situated the park of Gatcombe, which itself lies in a valley which includes the winding River Medina. Gatcombe House lies opposite Standen House, separated by the river and woods. Great East Standen Manor is nearby.


Staplers ( STAP-lərz) is a suburb of Newport, Isle of Wight, England, on the east side of the River Medina.

It was previously part of Arreton Manor and a grange of Quarr Abbey. Maps from the nineteenth century show the hamlets of Staplers, North Staplers and Little Staplers, as well as the geographic features Staplers Hill, Staplers Heath and Staplers Copse, as well as Staplers Turnpike and Staplers Farm.It houses the Crown Offices which discharge the principal functions of national government on the Isle of Wight such as the Department for Work and Pensions. There is a pub called "The Princess Royal".

Transport is provided by Southern Vectis bus routes 8 and 9.

Staplers also has a large housing estate consisting of mainly bungalows and 3 bedroom houses, situated on Cynthia Grove, Fairmount Drive, Mayfield Drive, Bellecroft Drive, Oak Road, Greenfields Road, Cooper Road, Cook Avenue and Atkinson Drive. 'Polars' nursing home is situated in Staplers Road.


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