Here’s an unusual one, St Catherine’s Oratory - known locally as ‘the pepper pot’ – is a medieval tower that dates all the way back to 1328. Perched high on the top of a cliff, the octagonal tower was built by a parishioner as penance for stealing the items belonging to the church from the wreck of a ship, and it’s well worth a visit if you get the chance. It’s thought the tower was built by Walter de Godeton as punishment for stealing church wine when the ship transporting it was wrecked nearby at Chale Bay.
The tower perches on one of the Isle of Wight’s highest points and belongs to the Tennyson Heritage Coast, so it’s a favourite landmark with walkers exploring the monuments of the Wight’s coastline. If you walk on a little further you’ll see another lighthouse nearby, although this one’s much later than St Catherines Oratory. Now owned by English Heritage, this windswept relic stands high above the fields that surround it and remains one of the island’s most photographed sites.
Dogs are welcome but owners must keep them on leads during their visit. If you don’t fancy visiting the oratory as part of a walk you’ll find plenty of parking nearby.