During 2014, we are celebrating 30 years of bringing customers from the UK to the Channel Islands. As part of this celebration, we will be writing about 30 Jersey essentials, from attractions and outdoor activities to special local food and some lesser-known island treats.
Part 9: Walk the North Coast
Over 16 miles of awe inspiring panorama stretch between Jersey’s north east and north west corners. Our famous and well maintained cliff paths dominate this rugged part of the island, an area where you will hear the power of the sea crushing below, where birds swoop overhead in search of prey and where, despite the dramatic landscape, you will be immersed in a very peaceful local environment. Walking the whole or part of the north coast can be as easy or arduous as you wish, but always come prepared with comfortable, stout shoes and a map.
Walking east to west
There is easy bus access to the many starting points along the north coast, and a little study of the timetable and routes will help you to start and finish on-time and in the right place.
Most people will be happy to explore the north coast in sections as the walking can be challenging and because there is so much to see on the way. The common itineraries consist of chunks of two to four miles, perfect to get you exercised but not exhausted. Starting from the east, Rozel Bay offers easy access to the path and, a pleasant 1¾ mile later, you will have reached Bouley Bay, a tiny and colourful fishing harbour that is also famous for hosting spectacular motoring hill climbs.
The following section takes you from Bouley Bay to Bonne Nuit Bay via the exotically named Egypt headland which reaches 375 feet above sea level, so expect a few ups and downs during this 4 mile walk! Jersey’s highest point is only a few yards inland at les Platons and stands proudly at 446 feet.
The next recommended walk is 3½ miles long and passes the most northerly point in Jersey (Sorel Point). This route will lead you pass Le Mourier Valley which even many islanders don’t know much about. If you fancy a little exploration, why not stray from the cliff path, follow the water stream pass the reservoir and enjoy the shade provided by the trees during hot days. This could be the perfect venue for a picnic. Back on track, the path leads to Devil’s Hole, a noisy cave carved naturally by the sea which has inspired many a tale and a few legends…
Leaving Devil’s Hole, now head towards the pretty Greve De Lecq Barracks and beach. This is the first sandy, accessible and therefore popular beach on the north coast, a great reward after your walk. Between the two points lies Crabbé, the local firing range. Please stick to the path when the red flags are flying – indicating firing activity.
Past Greve de Lecq Bay is a rather steep part of the cliffs. Bear with it as the rewards will soon come. This part of the coast is possibly the most magnificent with views opening onto the west and therefore towards other Channel Islands of Sark, Guernsey and Herm.
The very last section, from Plemont Point to Grosnez point is only 2 miles and passes the majestic Plemont beach which one can reach by going down the steps, past the cafe and the surf rescue spot. Enjoy!
(You can of course reverse this itinerary and start from the west.)
The atmosphere on the north coast is special not only because of its natural beauty but also by being so wild compared to the south of the island. Here, walkers will be continually reminded that Jersey is indeed an island, shaped geologically and geographically by the sea. The native flora is mainly heather and bracken and it has therefore been difficult to establish large settlements. However the north coast encompasses five parishes and each can boast a beautiful if small fishing harbour complete with a delightful cafe or two.
In St Martin in the east, Rozel Bay has the best burgers in ‘town’ at the Hungry Man. In Trinity, Bouley Bay is home to the Black Dog pub, serving traditional pub meals. St John claims Bonne Nuit’s beach café, popular for its weekend Thai menu, whilst St Mary and St Ouen share Grève de Lecq bay’s café, restaurant and ice-cream parlour. And in the west, St Ouen’s Plémont beach café is renowned for its hearty cakes. All well deserved after your walks!