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Walking in Guernsey
Landscapes of GUERNSEY with Alderney, Sark and Herm: walks and car tours
by Geoff Daniel
I have just spent a wonderful 10 days in Guernsey. Thank you for making our holiday so much more interesting. Full marks for the format of the book — so easy to carry. (Mrs JD, Chandlers Ford)
Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £7.99)
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An ideal introduction for the first-time visitor, this book also provides new ideas for those who come year after year. Apart from marvellous coastal scenery that’s been compared to that of Cornwall and Brittany, there is much to explore of the island’s past. For example, you could follow some of Guernsey’s ‘green lanes’ and ‘water lanes’ — centuries-old paths once used by pack-horses and donkeys, or follow a route that takes in the relics of prehistoric burial grounds as well as remnants of the German Occupation during World War II. Guernsey cliff walks, with steep climbs and lots of steps, are quite challenging, but elsewhere walking in Guernsey is very easy — the terrain is almost flat and ideal for the casual stroller.
Area covered: all of Guernsey, plus the nearby islands of Alderney, Sark and Herm
Best time to walk is in the spring, especially April/May when the spring flowers are out. But walking is enjoyable through to October, and even in the winter months if you don’t mind showers and bracing breezes.
Where to stay
The island is so small that it really doesn’t matter, but if you are relying on public transport, it’s best to stay in or near St Peter Port for the best bus services. Walking in Alderney would justify an overnight stay (or even a couple of nights), but the much smaller islands of Sark and Herm can be adequately explored on day trips.
1 car tour, 16 walks, 12 picnic suggestions for Guernsey; 2 walks and 2 picnic suggestions each for Alderney, Sark and Herm
64 pages + touring map; plan of St Peter Port; extracts from the official 1:25,000 HMSO island map No other guide to the island includes such extensive use of map extracts from this source. The extracts in this guide cover Guernsey’s best walking areas; in addition, there are complete 1:25,000 scale maps of Alderney, Sark and Herm. This mapping is no longer available for sale on the island.
5th ed, 2010; ISBN 978-1-85691-382-9; UK retail price £7.99 / USA retail price $11.99
Table of contents:
Acknowledgements; Books 6
Getting about 7
THE COASTAL TOUR 14 (Guernsey is a small island so this book contains just a single car tour)
St Peter Port · Jerbourg Point · St Martin’s · St Andrew’s · Icart Point · Petit Bot Bay · Pleinmont · Lihou Island · St Saviour’s Reservoir · Cobo Bay · L’Ancresse · Beaucette Marina · St Sampson’s · St Peter Port
Where to stay 21
What to take 21
A country code for walkers and motorists 22
Waymarking and maps 23
The walks in the book are arranged starting with walks on Guernsey on or near the coast – clockwise round the island from St Peter Port – and concluding with 10 and 11 – two inland walks.
1 St Peter Port – a town walk 25
2 St Peter Port to Fermain Bay 27
3 The Jerbourg Peninsula 29
4 Moulin Huet Water Lane 32
5 Renoir’s scene – the coast from Icart 34
6 Petit Bot to Pleinmont 36
7 Legends around Lihou 40
8 Saumarez Park and nature trail 42
9 The north coast 44
10 St Saviour’s and the Millennium Nature Walk 48
11 The Talbot Valley 52
12 The enchanting island of Herm 54
13 The feudal island of Sark 56
14 Introduction to Alderney 59
Bus routes and frequencies 62
Island touring map inside back cover
St Peter Port town plan 24
GUERNSEY (for the other islands, see below)
Amarreurs Harbour 46-7, 47
Bay 8, 11, 44-5, 46-7, 47, 62
Common 14, 19, 44-5, 46-7
Beau Sejour Leisure Centre 24, 62
Beaucette Marina 8, 14, 19, 44, 47
Belvedere Field 27, 28
Bordeaux Harbour 8, 19
Calais 29, 31
Castle Cornet (St Peter Port) 9, 13, 14, 24, 26
Chene, Le (Petit Bot Bay) 36-7, 62
Cobo 11, 43
Bay 14, 19, 42, 43, 62
Corbiere, La 10, 17, 36-7, 38, 62
Creux es Faies dolmen 17, 40-1
Doyle Column 10, 14, 29, 30-1, 30-1, 62
Eree, L’ 10, 40-1, 41, 62
Fermain Bay (Fort Road) 9, 10, 26-7, 28, 31, 62
Folk Museum (National Trust) see Saumarez Park) 62
Forest 17, 36-7
Fort Grey Maritime Museum 17
Fort Le Marchant (L’Ancresse Bay) 11, 44, 45, 46-7
German Occupation Museum 17, 62
Gouffre, Le 37, 38
Grand Havre Bay 46-7, 47
Guet, Le 11, 42, 42
Icart 10, 14, 16, 30-1, 34, 35, 62, cover
Jaonnet Bay, Le 30-1, 35
Jerbourg 10, 20-1, 27, 30-1
Point 10, 14, 29, 31, 62
Ladies’ Bay 63
Lihou Island 10, 14, 17, 40-1, 41, 63
Moulin des Niots, Le (Talbot Valley) 52, 53
Moulin Huet 10, 15, 29, 30-1, 32, 33, 34-5, 63
Mont Herault 63
Pea Stacks 30-1, 35
Pembroke Bay 19, 63
Perelle Bay 11, 18, 48, 49, 63
Petit Bot (Bay) 10, 14, 16, 31, 35-6, 36-7, 39, 62-3
Petit Port, Le 10, 29, 30-1, 32
Pleinmont 10, 14, 16, 36, 38, 63, 63
Pointe de la Moye 37
Portelet Bay (Harbour) 17, 38, 39, 63
Prevote, La 39
St Andrew’s 11, 14-5, 52, 53, 63
St Apolline’s Chapel 18, 40-1, 48, 49, 51
St Martin’s 2, 14, 30-1, 63
St Peter Port 9, 13, 14, 17, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 63
St Sampson’s 8, 14, 19, 63
St Saviour’s 41, 48, 49, 51
Church 11, 41, 48, 49, 51, 63
Reservoir 11, 14, 18, 40-1, 49, 50
Saints Bay (and Harbour) 10, 16, 30, 34, 63
Saline Bay 19, 63
Saumarez Park 15, 19, 43, 63
Sausmarez Manor 14, 63
Strawberry Farm 63
Table des Pions, La 10, 38, 38, 39
Talbot Valley 11, 15, 52, 53, 53
Telephone Museum 63
Tielles, Les 36-7, 39, 63
Torteval, St Philippe du (Church) 19, 36, 63
Trepied dolmen, Le 18, 40-1, 48, 49
Vale 8, 19, 44, 46-7
Castle 8, 19
Vauxbelets, Les (Little Chapel) 15
Vazon Bay 18, 63
ALDERNEY 11, 59-61, TM
Braye Bay 61, TM
Etacs, Les 11, 61, TM
Fort Clonque 11, 59, 61, TM
Fort Doyle 61, TM
Fort Tourgis 61, TM
St Anne 59, 60, 61, TM
Telegraph Bay 60, 61, TM
HERM 11, 54-5, TM
Belvoir Bay 54, 55, TM
Fisherman’s Beach 54, TM
Gentleman’s Beach (Point) 55, TM
Herm Harbour 11, 54, 55, TM
Mouissoniere Beach 11, 55, TM
St Tugal 11, 54, 55, TM
Shell Beach 11, 55, TM
SARK 11, 56-8, TM
Coupee, La 11, 57, TM
Creux Harbour 56-7, TM
Greve, La Grande 11, 56, 58, TM
Hog’s Back 56-7, TM
Seigneurie, La 56, 58, TM
Guernsey (with Alderney, Sark and Herm), 3rd edition, 2003, updated 01/02/05
Updates for walks and car tours (drives) on Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)
Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to email@example.com.
Now that Updates are online, it is possible to include colour images. There was insufficient space in Landscapes of Guernsey to include a photograph of the remarkable 600-year old wall painting of The Last Supper which can be seen at the Chapel of St Apolline which features in Walk 10. This is a detail from the painting. There is no charge for entry to the chapel.
Bus services: There is a web site devoted to Guernsey’s bus services: www.buses.gg
Concessionary fares: a flat rate fare of only 60p per bus journey applies irrespective of the distance you travel, i.e. you pay just 60p whether you travel from one stop to the next or from one end of the island to the other. (Services 7 or 7a provide a complete circular coastal tour of the island for the standard 60p fare but you should note that you cannot break your journey. You will have to pay another 60p if you rejoin the bus service.)
There are concessions that reduce the cost even further. If you purchase a block “Wave & Save” card covering several journeys you simply wave the card in front of the ticket reader by the driver and one journey is automatically deducted from your card. Cards are available for 10, 30 or 50 journeys. A 50-journey card at £15.00 reduces the cost of travel to only 30p per journey. Definitely worth considering if you are not hiring a car and plan to get around by bus. The buses are modern and services are frequent and reliable.
Pensioners should note that UK free bus passes are not valid in Guernsey – only Guernsey residents of 65 or over are entitled to free bus travel.
General reminder: Those who don’t live near the sea should read carefully the notes about tide tables on pages 20 and 21. This is especially important on the walk to Lihou.
Maps: It is no longer possible to obtain the HMSO/OS/MOD detailed military survey map 1:25 000 referred to on page 13, which makes the maps provided in Landscapes of Guernsey even more valuable. (User, 2/05)
Although the HMSO/OS/MOD map is no longer available, three competing maps have since been published. (And if you don’t need a great amount of detail you will find that perfectly adequate maps are given away free of charge at the airport and port when you arrive on Guernsey.)
1. The Official States of Guernsey 1:25,000 map is intended to replace the HMSO map but although it uses the same scale, in our opinion this map is not as good as the original official map. The size of type used for many of the place names and labels is so small that many users could find it difficult to follow.
2. The Insight Flexi Map of Guernsey has the advantage of being laminated on both sides, making it durable even in wet weather. However, it uses a smaller scale (1:35,000) and is therefore is very similar to the island maps that are given away to visitors on arrival at the airport or port.
3. The International Travel Map of Guernsey. Users who would like the most detailed map of the island are recommended to order a copy of this map from The Map Shop at Upton upon Severn (telephone 0800 085 4080). This map has a scale of 1:20,000 so it includes plenty of detail – in some instances even more than is shown on the HMSO/OS/MOD maps used in the book.
Also readily available on the island is the Perry’s Professional guide – a 50-page A4 size book containing maps of the entire island at a scale of seven inches to the mile, This is the ultimate choice for those seeking maximum detail.
Petrol: Up to 2003, the sale of petrol was not permitted on Sundays, but you are now able to buy petrol on Sundays.
Camping: For the benefit of those who would like to camp, the following are approved sites:
Castel: Fauxquets Valley (Tel. 01481 55460; fax 51797)
Vale: La Bailloterie (Tel. 01481 43636; fax 43225)
Vale: Hougue Guilmine: L’Etoile (Tel. 01481 44325)
Route de Vaugrat, St Sampson’s (Tel. 01481 57468; fax 51841)
Herm Island: Herm Camping (Tel. 01481 722377)
For conventional self-catering apartments, etc see the official guide issued by the Tourism Department.
Picnic fare: In addition to Marks & Spencer’s store in St Peter Port, there are also M & S Simply Food stores at L’Islet and St Martins, both well stocked with sandwiches, salads and other picnic food.
Walk/Picnic 6: Here’s a short walk for motorists or bus users to a perfect picnic location. Although it is covered in Picnic 6 and the much longer Walk 6, the interesting Table des Pions and tiny Fort Pezeries can be reached in a 20 to 25min walk from Portelet Harbour (bus 7/7A; plenty of parking spaces for motorists – park near the Imperial Hotel). Some clarification may be helpful, however, as there is a notice near the beginning of the walk indicating that the route is private. This might deter some visitors. It’s a linear walk, so allow a total of 40-50 min walking plus however long you plan to spend looking around or picnicking. With the Imperial Hotel on your left and the sea on your right, start by walking along for some 300 yards to the end of the promenade. Then veer left up a slight gradient on a surfaced road (the route is on tarmac all the way, but you can also walk on grass verges much of the way and in any case there is virtually no traffic.) As you turn up this road you will see a notice indicating that there is no through road, that the route leads only to private residences and that there is no entry for vehicles. (This is true, but the route runs through Guernsey National Trust land and IS open to pedestrians.) Soon come to the barrier preventing motorists from driving any further but continue walking. Staying on the same road you will after around 20 minutes come to Fort Pezeries, just a few yards off to the right. This must be one of Guernsey’s smallest forts – you can explore it and read an information board explaining its history. Returning to the road, you almost immediately reach the Table des Pions. Around here, as mentioned under Picnic 6, are plenty of options for picnicking, either on grass or sitting on rocks overlooking the sea. Go back the same way.
Walk 9: L’Ancresse Bay Apartments and the L’Ancresse Bay hotel have been demolished and (in June 2009) a new block of residential apartments was under construction. The site office was unable to say what name would be given to the new building when completed.
Walk 10: The German Tunnels referred to at the top of page 51 have been sealed and it is no longer possible to visit them. It seems unlikely that they will ever be accessible again.