Saint Clement parish, in the south-eastern corner of Jersey, is a place with an interesting – and at times turbulent – history. With this part of the island being notoriously low-lying, it has seen frequent large flooding events in centuries gone by. There is evidence of submerged forest just off the coastline, suggesting the parish was once formed of a much larger area. With rising sea levels, Saint Clement gradually shrunk to its current size, now representing the smallest parish on the island.
Towards its eastern end, you can find St. Clement village. This small settlement is situated a short distance inland and has historically avoided the worst of the sea’s wrath. The nearby coast road at Le Hocq point, however, was once washed away completely, although the later construction of Le Dicq helped to hold back the sea somewhat. Interestingly, St. Clement village – along with the parish as a whole – held a strong historic association with witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.
With both its flooding problems (and any allegations of witchcraft) now largely a thing of the past, the village makes for a great coastal destination, offering a variety of shops and activities.
One of the most popular attractions around St. Clement village is Le Hocq Point. This rocky headland is one of the most beautiful regions I have seen on the south-eastern coast of Jersey, and it is also the site of Le Hocq Tower. This structure is one of the many fortifications that were built around the island during the Napoleonic era, when a French invasion was a very real threat.
Today, the tower is painted with a distinctive white paint over part of its upper regions, designed to serve as a daymark to help passing ships navigate the coast. Overlooking the ocean, the tower makes for some great photo opportunities, and it is also interesting to learn about its history.
As Le Hocq Point forms the eastern edge of St. Clement’s Bay, it is an excellent place to explore, with areas of sand and shingle beach stretching away in both directions. When the tide is low, a number of rockpools are exposed, where you can spend some time searching for Jersey’s intriguing marine life.
The receding tide also provides access to several large rocks which lie just offshore. King’s Rock, Queen’s Rock and Prince’s Rock all sit in the shadow of Le Hocq Tower, with the larger two outcrops being topped with vegetation. If you’re feeling confidant, it is possible to scale the rocks, for a unique viewpoint over the surrounding bay.
A large car park and toilet facilities lie just behind the beach, and this is also the home of St. Clement’s Parish Hall, where a variety of community events take place. Why not conclude your trip to Le Hocq Point with a visit to the very conveniently located Le Hocq Inn that I can 100% recommend. This traditional Jersey pub serves up some delicious home-cooked food and offers both indoor and outdoor seating, meaning you can make the most of the beautiful sea views when the weather is nice.
Riding The Waves
If you stroll to the far north of St. Clement village, you may be lucky enough to find your way to the parish church. This pretty church has stood in the area since the year 911, becoming the parish church in 1067. It is thought to have been built upon the remains of a small fort that was destroyed during Viking raids.
The interior of the church has some excellent examples of Gothic stained-glass windows, as well as a large collection of silverware and an intriguing depiction of Archangel Saint Michael slaying a dragon. Outside, it is just as scenic, with the top of the churchyard leading through to an expanse of wildflower meadows that were planted as part of one of the church’s community projects. If you’re paying the church a visit, it can also be a great idea to stop by the village’s local biscuit shop along the way, where you can enjoy a tasty snack.
As St. Clement village is located so close to the shore, the outskirts are the base for Jersey Kayak Adventures – the island’s only specialist kayak company. Here, you can take to the seas with a local guide, allowing you to explore the coastline in the very best way possible. The kayak tours are suitable for those of all ages and can be a fun day out for all the family.
St. Clement is therefore an interesting place to visit, set in a great seaside location. Not only are there things to see within the village, there are a diverse range of activities in the surrounding area too.
Jersey’s coastline has so much to offer. Learn more in the following article: A Beach Fit For Adventure – Plemont Bay, Jersey