This centre based walking tour around the island of Jersey is the shorter half (80km/49 miles) of The Channel Island Way, an unofficial 177 km/110 mile trail around the accessible Channel Islands in The English Channel. Originally part of the Duchy of Normandy, William the Conqueror bequeathed the islands to the English Crown where they remained even after the mainland parts of the Duchy had been absorbed by the French Crown. Today they exist as a collection of ‘States’ under the U.K. but independent to it in many ways under a political set up called a ‘Bailiwick.’ The islands all have a separate character and could be likened to some of the nicest parts of Cornwall.
Jersey has long been a favourite place for discerning tourists and there are some fantastic long sandy beaches, beautiful undulating cliff paths leading to tiny coves with sparkling rock pools. The cliffs are a riot of colour in spring and early summer with sea pinks, gorse and trefoils. There are forts and castles of some description right the way around the island, mainly dating back to the 1400s-1860s. Huge fort constructions were also created by the Nazis during their occupation of the islands in World War II. North Jersey in particular is firmly established on bird migratory routes.
Moderate. This is a self guided walk with average daily stages of around 5-6 hours (not including rests or visits to the castles enroute). There are many ups and downs as you would expect in a coastal region, and walking poles are definitely a good idea, however the paths are fairly well defined. A good level of fitness is required and the trip is considered suitable for experienced walkers. Map reading skills are essential and you may need to use a compass at times in order to check the path. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for at least three months prior to your departure.
Fly or ferry to Jersey, then take a taxi direct to your hotel or use the island's reliable bus service.
Accommodation: 3* Fort d'Auvergne Hotel is your accommodation for the duration of the tour and is along the coast road on the outskirts of St Helier.Your hotel is built on the sea front, very close to a Victorian Lido - open air tidal swimming area. For the more timid, the hotel has its own heated pool, there is a nice restaurant and bar. There is a convenient bus stop right outside, with buses running to central St. Helier every 15 minutes. Although this is our preferred hotel on some occasions we may have to use a different one but it will be of the same standard. We always request a room with a balcony & sea view but this is all subject to availability at the time of booking.
This first day is a walk of two halves, striding out of St.Helier passing marinas and modern coastal developments, you can either walk along the beach at low tide, or follow the coastal promenade passing imposing Elizabeth Fort and past miles of creamy sand to St. Aubin. This was Jersey’s main harbour before St. Helier was developed. After this warm up and maybe some refreshment, leave the seaside to ascend the cliffs to the well preserved Nazi fortifications at Noirmont. There is some nice cliff walking until the enticing St. Brélades Bay which is probably the most popular beach on the island, with its historical church and ‘Fisher’s Chapel’. More cliff tops follow to the extreme south western tip of the island at La Corbiére with its famous lighthouse and views all the way to Newfoundland! Turn the corner and finish at a beach café at the south of St. Ouen’s Bay, once again facing miles of sandy beach like we started the day. The return bus takes approx 45 min (depending on traffic).
At all but the higher states of tides, you can stay on the beach and walk the first few kilometers across the glorious sandy St.Ouen's Bay. To the west there is nothing but ocean as far as Canada. However, if you are restricted by tide, weather or inclination to the sea wall path, there are some interesting features including a small nature reserve which is the home to a few of Jersey's indigenous species, more defensive towers and a World War II museum in a former Nazi bunker with lots of interesting artifacts. The landscape changes when you reach the far end of the bay and you are forced to ascend into the heather and gorse carpeted cliffs. You then pass around a remote headland which has been managed to try to slow and stop the growth of bracken around the island and thus improve the area for nesting birds. The cliff walk takes you round to a Nazi range finding tower and to the remains of Medieval 'Le Chateau de Gros Nez' sitting isolated on a cliff. It then passes the beautiful small beach at 'La Grève de Lanchon' before heading beside coast and fields to finish at the delightful sandy bay at 'La Grève de Lecq.' The return bus takes approx 40 min (depending on traffic).
The hardest but arguably most beautiful section of the walk. A couple of miles of tarmac walking but nearly all on coastal footpath, which relentlessly undulates around the coves and bays of northern Jersey. The land-seascape views are gorgeous in the right light and views to Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Alderney and the coast of France; tidal reefs and races; old forts and watch towers; heather and gorse, butterflies and birdlife. The walking has a more remote feel than other days, with just the small seaside village of Bonne Nuit and a couple of pubs to gain refreshment. There are interesting geological features including, sea stacs and a collapsed cliff called 'The Devil's Hole'. Hopefully the weather will be at your back! You are never really that close to the cliff edge to feel exposed, although this of course is subjective. There are some rougher sections with a lot of undulations. A tiring but fulfilling day.The return bus takes approx 50 min (depending on traffic).
Another beautiful day, now rounding the north eastern point of the island, and heading south. From Bouley Bay, the epic cliff walks continue, dropping down to the beautiful and picturesque little village and harbour at Le Rozels. From here there is a bit of quiet road walking inland, until a descent into the bay at Fiquet, passing by a breakwater into St. Catherines Bay. Perhaps it is time for an ice cream and if the tide is low, a re-acquaintance with beach walking, passing some strategic towers, the final part joins the road around headland north of Gorey and to the impressive medieval castle of Mont Orgueil. It is worth spending up to 2 hours ascending and descending the multitude of steps to visit the chambers in this well preserved citadel. Finally drop down to the little fishing and boating village of Gorey below the castle. The return bus takes approx 30 min (depending on traffic).
At low tide you can walk much of the way from Gorey to St. Helier along most of the beaches. The first section involves an attractive walk observing Mont Orgueil diminishing into the distance across sand, sea and passing an old tower called Fort Henry. There are a few headlands that you can't easily get round as well as rough, weedy and rocky sections of beach and private properties, so in places you will be on the coastal road and pavement. As you go along, the coastline gets more built up. If not walking on the beach there is a couple of miles of walking along seawall and sandy marram grass, but mostly you are on the coast road. Attractions include the long beach at Royal Bay of Grouville, The Harbour at Platte Rocque and the Lido (tidal swimming pool) at Havre de Pas - you might want to bring swimming costumes if it is warm, but check the tide levels (it is totally underwater at high tide). Finally there are the many defensive towers along the way. Return to Liberation Square in central St. Helier to complete your circuit of Jersey.
The tour finishes after breakfast. Bus or taxi to airport or ferry terminal.
Per Person, Twin Share