A short distance west from Jersey’s capital, St. Helier, the landscape becomes more rural as the border to Saint Lawrence parish is crossed. This region marks the geographical centre of the island, around which much of the parish’s 5,000 vergées of land are situated. The northern and central parts of Saint Lawrence are largely made up of rolling countryside, representing an important agricultural area on the island. This makes it wonderfully picturesque, especially in the summer months, when the hedgerows and woodlands are in full leaf.
Almost directly in the middle of the parish, you can find St. Lawrence village. This small agglomeration of buildings lies along the A10 main road, and is surprisingly sparse, considering the village is the traditional centre of the parish. In fact, much of the development within Saint Lawrence has occurred along the short stretch of coastline to the south, which hugs St. Aubin’s Bay. Despite this, St. Lawrence village benefits from the peace and quiet that comes with being located away from the busier tourist areas, while also remaining well within reach of their attractions.
Jersey Apple Cider
You don’t have to stray far from St. Lawrence village to find things to do. The village borders the gentle slopes of the Waterworks Valley, which begins at St. Aubin’s Bay and winds its way inland. The valley is known as one of the most beautiful natural places in the whole of Jersey, with tranquil pathways leading through fantastic areas of native woodland. I heard that it is haunted by ghosts at night, so it might be best to stick to visiting during daylight hours. I think that the village of St. Lawrence is the perfect base for exploring the valley, located just a couple minute’s walk from the main path.
If you join the path here, you can set off northwards, skirting the Dannemarche Reservoir. Built in 1909, this was the second major reservoir to be constructed on Jersey, and is home to several species of fish. From here, it’s a short walk to the Hamptonne Country Life Museum – one of the most interesting destinations in the vicinity of St. Lawrence. The museum is made up of a collection of traditional farm buildings, dating back to the 16th century. It is a great place to learn about the historic crafts and strange traditions employed by local people throughout the last six centuries.
There are a range of activities to take part in at the museum, and they vary from season to season. If you visit during summer, you may be lucky enough to meet the adorable Hamptonne piglets in their traditional outdoor pigsty. There also tends to be a blacksmith in residence at this time of year, providing you with the chance to see some traditional iron working. Not only that, but the museum has its very own orchard, where Jersey apple cider is produced. An annual cider-making festival occurs here annually, and this can make for a unique visitor experience.
Fuel For The Day
If you’re looking to explore Saint Lawrence and the wider area for an extended time, why not make St. Lawrence village your base. The Village Bed & Breakfast is located at the southern end of the village and is the ideal place to stay, located just 8 kilometres from St. Helier. Its quaint guesthouse is more than comfortable, with a lovely walled garden and freshly cooked breakfasts to wake up to everyday.
It’s also a mere stone’s throw away from the local village pub. But if craft ales and pub food aren’t to your taste, you can instead take a walk to St. Lawrence’s Parish Church. This rustic-looking church has seen so many structural changes over the years that no one is quite sure when exactly it was first built. Despite this, it is one of the most beautiful churches in Jersey and is sure to be of interest.
There are yet another cultural offering to the east of St. Lawrence village. A small, winding road leads to a traditional farmhouse situated around a cluster of small outbuildings. While the farm is tenanted, the outbuildings and cobbled courtyard areas are open to the public and can be intriguing to explore, offering an insight into Jersey’s agricultural heritage.
Though St. Lawrence village may be discounted by the casual eye due to its small size, there is much to do in and around the settlement. With a wealth of cultural exploits, as well as country walks, it is certainly worth a visit.
Learn more about Jersey island in the following article: 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Jersey, Channel Islands