Island Life   

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Walking in Guernsey


One of the most popular activities in Guernsey is walking. There is something for everyone from cliffs and coastal path as to countryside lanes.

Walks around St Peter Port

Cornet Street Overlooking St Peter Port
Cornet Street Overlooking St Peter Port


Built into the steep valley that leads down to the harbour, St Peter Port is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and with spectacular views across to Herm and the other islands. Let an expert show you around the town of St Peter Port with a guided tour leaving from the Tourist Information Bureau at the North Esplanade during the summer months. There are three walks; 

  • In Victor Hugo's Footsteps -Tuesdays 10.30 am & Wednesdays 2.30pm, including a visit to Maison Victor Hugo (approx 2 hours) 
  • Heart of the town - Mondays & Thursdays 10.30am (approx 1.25 hours) 
  • Off the Beaten Track - Fridays 10.30am (approx 1.25 hours) 

Another suggested Walk

Alternatively you may wish to organise your own walk. A suggestion is as follows:

Start at the Liberation monument near the harbour and after crossing to the tax rank, have a walk up Le Truchot, the heart of the banking industry. Most of the buildings are new but in keeping with the pitched roofed warehouses which used to occupy this area of town until the 1980s. Take the first left and left again which takes you into La Plaiderie, the site of the former court house which was demolished in 1929. Moores Hotel on the right used to be the home of Admiral Lord de Sausmarez. 

Former home of Sir Isaac Brock

Continue up the quaint cobbled street of the Upper Pollet towards the High Street.  The building now occupied by Boots was the home of the famous Guernseyman Major General Sir Isaac Brock, who saved Canada for the British Empire but was killed in action at the age of just 42 in 1812 at Queenston Heights. 

Take Smith Street on the right and half way up you will see an old water pump dated 1828 on the left and on the right one of six stones referred to as Les Barrieres de la Ville erected in 1700 to mark the position of the original gates of the town, when St Peter Port was walled in.

At the top of Smith Street is a War Memorial and on the left are the Royal Court Buildings, Greffe (public registry office) and the States of Guernsey Deliberation Chamber. If you continue up St James Street with the sunken garden to your right, you will find the the former church of St James the Less, wonderfully restored and now a concert and assembly hall.

Former home of Sir Isaac Brock


 General Brock

Born in 1769, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock was the civil and military leader of Upper Canada at the opening of the War of 1812. Brock immediately realised there were four key points in the defense of Canada: Michilimackinac, Detroit, Kingston and Montreal; the first two were American possessions at the opening of the War. On July 17, 1812 (less than a month after the American declaration of war), Brock captured Michilimackinac from the Americans in a bloodless battle, and, on August 16, managed a near-bloodless surrender of Detroit. Brock was knighted for his actions.

A broadside was published four days after Brock’s victory at Detroit, reading:" York, August 20, 1812:  Glorious News!!!

Despatches have just arrived from General Brock, dated Detroit August 17th 1812, stating that he took possession of that important Post on the 16th without the sacrifice of a drop of British blood. Every individual, together with their General, was animated with the most glorious spirit. Upwards of 2,500 Troops have surrendered prisoners of War, and about 25 pieces of Ordnance have been taken. Thus it hath pleased Providence to crown his Majesty’s Arms with an early and important Victory."

Brock was killed in action at the head of a  battle, on October 13th near the village of Queenston Heights, Niagara.  A monument in his honour, 182 feet high was built in 1856 near where he met his untimely death. Today, the monument, which now straddles the longest undefended border in the world, remains one of the most imposing historical landmarks in Canada.

Read more about this famous Guernseyman at http://www.warof1812.ca/brock.htm

Go up past the impressive buildings of the public school Elizabeth College and turn right into Upland Road, past the Royal Bank of Canada building. Go left and aim for the impressive Victoria Tower built in celebration of Queen Victoria's visit in 1846. Opposite the tower is the Cimitiere des Etrangers, where foreigners were buried which has good views over St Peter Port. At the end of that road is Candie Road where a visit to Candie Museum is an absolute must and the gardens are fabulous. and also the Priaulx Library with its excellent archive records. 

 

View from Blue Mountains

Afterwards, re-trace your steps up Candie Road and turn right towards Cambridge Park and right again at the Duke of Richmond Hotel. This will take you past the former Centre. The walk will be worthwhile, for at the end is Les Cotils Centre, a former nunnery but now a Christian Retreat of the road. From a site called the Blue Mountains, you will get the most spectacular view you can ever imagine overlooking St Peter Port and the other islands including Alderney and Jersey on a clear day. From there you can walk down towards St Julians Avenue and back to where you started.

Castle Cornet from the Blue Mountains


Country Lanes & Millennium walk

It may surprise many that there is an area of only 40 square kilometres, yet there are 500 kilometres of roads and lanes, many of them Green and water lanes dating back hundreds of years, which have no traffic. The water lanes were used a lot up to the mid-eighteen hundreds and have a stream down the centre or side of the lane. Many of the hedges which form boundaries, date back to Elizabethan times. Walk along the lanes of St Peter's and St Andrew's with farmhouses scattered here and there and high Bank hedges, it feels a completely different world. Hedges by law, must be cut back by the 15th June and up to that time, the hedges would-be awash with the colour of wild flowers.  

The delayed Millennium walk project around St Saviour's Reservoir is definitely recommended having opened 19 months late. Two miles of paths are open and the rest should be completed by the end of 2001. The Water Board took over responsibility for developing it and consulted interested parties for advice.

Cliff Walks

Petit Por Jerbourg
Petit Port View from Jerbourg


The cliffs of Guernsey have been protected from development since 1927 and have also been recognised as sites of Special Scientific interest as well as being an important bird area by the RSPB. The 28 and-a-half mile network of cliffs start at La Vallette in St Peter Port and stretch along the East and south coast to Pleinmont point. The south coast has been described as one of the best walks in the Europe. With 100 metre high cliffs and away from the hustle and bustle of life, you can enjoy the sound of the birds and waves crashing on the rocks. Renoir appreciated the beauty of this area as did Victor Hugo who wrote about many of the places along the way including Le Gouffre, in Toilers of the sea. Renoir painted fifteen canvasses in 1883 based around Moullin Huet Bay and very little has changed since then.

Cliffs in Spring

Icart in Spring Petit Port gorse
Icart in Spring Gorse along cliff paths


The cliffs in Spring time are especially beautiful. The yellow gorse combine with mass of white hawthorn flowers. You will also find bluebells, which although normally as woodland flower, seem to thrive on the cliffs. Wild garlic, celandines, sand crocus and forget-me-nots add to the colourful scenes.

Cliff path in Autumn

Whatever the season, the island's cliffs are a pleasure to walk along, with the mass of spring flowers, the yellow gorse and pride sunshine and blue sea in the summer, the gold of Autumn and the crisp breezes of winter.

Ensure you have a good pair of walking shoes and don't forget to take the walk in stages. There are plenty of beach cafes along the way to provide refreshment. 

Cliff Path in Autumn


Suggested Walks

 1 St Peter Port La Vallette to St Martins Point
 2 Jerbourg to Icart Point
 3 Icart Point to Petit Bot
 4 Petit Bot to Pleinmont
 5 Pleinmont Headland
 6 Lihou Island
 7 Le Catioroc Nature Trail and L'Eree Headland
 8 Saumarez Nature Trail, Castel
 9 Portinfer to Grandes Rocques
10 Grand Havre Bay

Useful Links

Cycle Routes
Floral Guernsey


Useful Reading

The above walks are covered in detail in 'Guernsey Coastal Walks and Nature Trails' by Perrys

 
 
 
 
 
 

  

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