The Jersey parish of Saint Clement lies in the south-east of the island, near the capital, St. Helier. It’s one of the lowest-lying regions in Jersey and is quite heavily urbanised, made up of various residential housing developments.
One such example is that of Samares, which can be found about a kilometre from St. Helier. This small settlement is believed to get its name from a salt marsh that used to occupy the land, before it was drained to make way for development. While it is unfortunate that an area of habitat such as this has been lost, Samares location by the sea still makes it a scenic spot.
Samares lies within one of the three vingtaines within Saint Clement parish, an area which grew popular in the 19th century, particularly with the opening of the local train station in 1873. The station was served by the Jersey Eastern Railway for more than fifty years, before it was eventually closed for good. The main station building still exists, although it is now a private house. Despite this, there are a range of other places to see in and around the settlement that are publicly accessible, along with a variety of shops and restaurants.
Top of the list of things to do in Samares is undoubtedly paying a visit to Samares Manor and its botanic gardens. The manor house is medieval in origin and is the traditional home of the Seigneur de Samares. The building is grand in appearance, both inside and out, and while I was there I took a journey through its history by booking a guided tour. This is a great way to learn about the various seigneurs who have resided in the property over the years.
If the weather is pleasant, the botanic gardens situated in the grounds of the manor are certainly worth exploring. Created by Sir James Knott in the 1920s – who owned the manor at the time – the gardens incorporate a diverse range of themed areas. You can take in the unique smells of the herb garden and Victorian greenhouse, say hello to the animals in the stables or relax beside the pond in the Japanese garden.
There are thousands of different plants to see in total, with the area being a beautiful spot throughout the seasons. Keep an eye out in particular for the round dovecot – believed to be the oldest example on the island. There is even an on-site café, a gift centre, a children’s play area and a plant centre, meaning you are sure to be kept amused for several hours.
A short distance from Samares Manor is Le Dolmen de Mont Ubé. This Neolithic passage grave is surrounded by leafy countryside and dates from between 4000 – 3250 BC, making it about 6,000 years old. Unfortunately, the grave was damaged by quarriers before its excavation, however it is still relatively intact and makes for an intriguing sight. Polished stone axes and pendants have been found within, adding to its historical value.
The Secrets Of Green Island
A visit to Samares wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach, as the coastline surrounding the settlement is home to several great examples. One of the most beautiful is that of Green Island Beach, which holds the title as the southern-most tip of mainland Jersey.
The beach is named after Green Island – a small, tidal island that lies just offshore. You can reach the island for a short period at low tide, allowing you to search for the Neolithic structures that have led to the island being listed as an important archaeological site. A cairn, a number of middens and the remains of an old cemetery are all there to find. If the tide is in and you can’t make it out to the island, the beach is certainly not a disappointing option to be left with. Its soft, white sand and azure waters are ideal for paddling, sunbathing and all manner of other beach activities. It can get busy on hot summer’s days however, so I recommend to get there early.
If you find yourself craving something to eat while at Green Island Beach, you are definitely in luck. The rear of the beach is home to the Green Island Restaurant & Beach Hut – the perfect setting to enjoy some fresh local seafood and a few refreshing drinks. Just like the beach itself, the restaurant is a popular place among locals and tourists alike.
While it may be overshadowed in some regards by the nearby capital, Samares can be a very interesting place for a day out. With its exquisite coastline and historic sites, it offers some great activities, without having to venture off the beaten track.
Another part of Jersey worth visiting is the western coast. Find out more in the following article: Orchid Fields – La Mielle de Morville