During my time as a Leader for Ramblers Walking Holidays, one of the places I always looked forward to leading a holiday group was Jersey. No need for lengthy air journeys nor extended transfers on arrival, but with that all-important “vive la difference” due to its proximity to France.
Obviously the coastal walks are high points; along the rugged north coast with its non-vertiginous paths affording superb views to the French coast as well as to Sark and to Guernsey in the distance; and the south coast walk starting from St Aubin, a quick bus ride from the main bus station in St Helier, going across Portelet Common to drop down to the magnificent expanse of sandy beach at St Brelade’s Bay, with the opportunity to have mid-morning refreshments at any of the cafés. Proceeding, we would reach Corbiere with its distinctive much-photographed lighthouse at the end of the tidal causeway.
Another iconic building, Mont Orgueil Castle overlooking Gorey on the east side of the island features prominently in Tourist Board literature and is a great place to visit on the free day of the holiday. Hereabouts, the tide goes out a very considerable distance with the result that boats in the harbour can be seen bobbing about, or left high and dry, depending on when you visit.
Going back to the “piece de resistance”, the north coast walk: we began at the La Mare wine estate and proceeded east to cross the charming secluded Mourier Valley to reach Bonne Nuit Bay, and then more strenuously on to Bouley Bay, noted for its Hill Climb for cars. Further on along the coast, on another day’s walk, we visited Rozel, with its “squirrels crossing” road signs, and neolithic Dolmen du Couperon.
Staying in a hotel a short walk for the centre of St Helier is ideal as the bus services all radiate from there, and you have the familiar high-street names when you want to mingle with the crowds. Once you are on the walks however, you lose the masses, and have beautiful countryside and sea air wonderfully to yourselves.