My islands are a paradise for nature lovers and walking and running enthusiasts, offering breathtaking coastal paths, unique flora and fauna, and a fascinating blend of Anglo-French culture and history. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the best walking routes on Guernsey and Alderney, and discover the must-visit destinations along the way.
The islands’ slow pace of life, friendly locals, and fresh produce sold in ‘Honesty Stalls’ will immerse you in its unique lifestyle. So, come along and join me on this unforgettable experience of discovering the beauty of my beloved chain of islands.
The Guernsey Coastal Path: A Diverse and Contrasting Experience
One of the best ways to explore Guernsey is by following its coastal path, which offers a diverse and ever-changing scenery. The path is a total of 37 miles long and is divided into 11 sections. Each section can be completed within a few hours, making it easy to plan day trips and explore different parts of the island. Here are some highlights of the Guernsey coastal path:
South Coast: Rugged Cliffs and Beautiful Bays
The south coast of Guernsey offers some of the most stunning scenery on the island. As you walk along the cliff path, you’ll hear the roar of the waves as they buffet the cliffs beneath you. Some of the highlights of this section include:
- Pleinmont Observation Tower: A restored World War II observation tower that offers panoramic views of the island’s southwest coast.
- Jerbourg Point: A scenic headland that offers spectacular views of the English Channel and the nearby islands.
- Moulin Huet Bay: A picturesque bay that inspired many of Renoir’s paintings
West Coast: Sand Dunes and Secluded Coves
The west coast of Guernsey is characterized by its sand dunes and secluded coves. This section of the coastal path is relatively easy to walk and offers some of the most breathtaking views on the island. Some of the highlights of this section include:
- Lihou Island: A small island that can be accessed during low tide by crossing a causeway. The island is home to a ruined priory and a bird sanctuary.
- Vazon Bay: A wide sandy beach that offers excellent surfing opportunities.
- Fort Grey: A Martello tower that now serves as a shipwreck museum.
North Coast: Rocky Inlets and Fishing Boats
The north coast of Guernsey is characterized by its rocky inlets and brightly coloured fishing boats. This section of the coastal path offers some of the most scenic views on the island. Some of the highlights of this section include:
- Pembroke Bay: A large bay that offers excellent swimming opportunities.
- Rousse Headland: A scenic headland that offers spectacular views of the English Channel.
- Bordeaux Harbour: A small harbour that is home to a number of fishing boats.
Alderney: A Small Island with a Big Personality
Alderney is a small island located just off the coast of Guernsey. It is a part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and can be accessed via a short ferry ride from St. Peter Port.
Alderney offers a unique and authentic island experience and is an excellent destination for a day trip with a superb lunch at one of the many charming restaurants.
The Island offers a fusion of French and British cuisine, reflecting the island’s cultural heritage. Fresh seafood, award-winning cheeses, and locally-grown produce feature prominently in local dishes. Whether you’re looking for casual dining or fine cuisine, Alderney’s food scene is sure to delight you! Here are some of the must-visit destinations on Alderney:
Braye Beach and Harbour
Braye Beach is a popular destination on Alderney. The beach is flanked by Fort Albert and Fort Grosnez and offers a stunning view of the sea. The nearby harbour area is steeped in history and provides a glimpse into the island’s past as a strategic military outpost. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the harbour promenade, watching waves crash over the Victorian sea defence known as the Breakwater, or enjoy a picnic on the sandy beach while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Located on a hill overlooking Braye Beach, Fort Albert is a well-preserved fortification that dates back to the 19th century. Visitors can climb to the top of the fort for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, including Braye Beach to the west and Saye Bay, Chateau a L’Etoc and Arch Bay to the northeast. The fort has been restored and converted into a museum that showcases the island’s military history.
Bibette Head is another must-see destination on Alderney. It offers a remarkable insight into the fortification of the island. The area is home to a series of well-engineered bunkers that were built during the Second World War to protect the island from enemy attacks. Visitors can explore the bunkers and learn about the island’s military history.
Arch Bay is a small, sheltered cove that can be accessed through a large tunnel. The bay is home to white sand and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can take a stroll along the beach or relax in one of the many beachside cafes and restaurants.
The Odeon is a formidable MP3 naval range-finding tower that was built during the Second World War. It is one of the many well-engineered bunkers on the island and is a testament to the island’s military history. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for a stunning view of the surrounding area.
Built in 1912, the Alderney Lighthouse is a prominent landmark that had a resident keeper until 1996. The lighthouse provides a stunning view of the surrounding area, including the nearby Braye Beach and Harbour. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the island.
Walking along the rugged coastal paths and exploring the quaint villages and towns will offer a unique insight into the local way of life. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting, the walking trails on these islands are accessible to all. So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and embark on a journey of discovery and adventure in the Channel Islands.
Longis Common Bird Hide
Constructed in 2001, the Longis Bird Hide is a popular destination for bird watchers. The hide has a splendid view over reed beds and a natural freshwater bird pond. Visitors can observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitat, including herons, kingfishers, and ducks.
A Roman Fort located at the end of Longis Beach is known locally as The Nunnery, a popular destination for history buffs. The fort is well-preserved and provides a glimpse into the island’s Roman past.
Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing on the beach, Alderney has something to offer. So why not plan a day trip to this beautiful island and discover everything it has to offer?
As a nature lover and writer, I’ve enjoyed sharing my passion for the stunning Channel Islands of Guernsey and Alderney with you. Guided walking holidays or self-guided tours offer a unique opportunity to experience the islands’ breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, beautiful wildflowers, and rich cultural heritage. From the picturesque coastal paths to the charming towns and villages, there’s something for everyone on these islands. I hope that this article has inspired you to explore the beauty of the Channel Islands further.
Would you like to find out more about my very first impressions of Alderney? Then don’t miss the following post: My first visit to Alderney Island