This innocuous stream started life as a spring emerging from the High Down above Freshwater Bay. On its route, it meanders past Sheepwash Farm, where in the eighteenth-century sheep were dipped to relieve them of troublesome maggots and mites. The stream then continues on its journey eventually joining up with the River Yar.
The Isle of Wight was once an island of sheep. In Elizabethan times, thousands of animals were shipped across to over-winter and take advantage of the milder climate. At least twenty villages were cleared to accommodate the flocks, the beasts being more economic than the peasants. Above is Winkle Street at Calbourne where the last sheep were washed in the Cal Bourne in the 1970s.
The fine chalk ridges of the Downs still provides ideal grazing for sheep and lambs.