Channel Islands walking holiday

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  • Jersey family walking on dunes
  • Herm - little boy and man towards sea
  • Jersey views

Walking in the Channel Islands on your holiday or break

Jersey

Spring Walking Week

12th – 28th May 2018

Guernsey

Spring Walking Festival

12th – 28th May 2018

Autumn Walking Festival

15th – 30th September 2018

Discovering the islands on foot

Whether you enjoy a Channel Islands walking holiday or break or just some fresh air, discovering the islands on foot is a delight. Each island has its unique characteristics but all share breathtaking views, a vista of wild flowers, wildlife and wonderfully rugged coastlines dotted with coves and sandy beaches. Inland villages with quaint Anglo-French houses allow walkers to gain a deeper sense of the history and traditions of each island and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and sample the local cuisine to refresh the walking weary.

Jersey walks

Jersey is the largest of the islands at just over 45 square miles and covers a variety of terrain. Whether you like a serious hike or an afternoon ramble, there will be plenty to suit. On the southern side of the island lies the port of St Helier with marinas, parks, gardens and the main shopping area. Heading west along the long promenade and seafront around the lower lying south to southwest coast are wide sandy bays and golden beaches interspersed with headlands at Noirmont and Portelet. From here the island slopes upwards towards grass and heathland and the north west coastline affords miles of deserted firm sand save for the odd surfer or two and lighthouse. From the north to northeastern coastline, high rugged cliffs lead down to a series of little coves and harbours. The highest point on the island, Les Platons, can be found on the north coast. The wide golden beaches on the south of the island and dramatic northern coastline are joined in the middle by lush green valleys and rural villages. A network of ‘green lanes’ allow for safer walking as cars are restricted in speed. There is also an abundance of attractions to visit and walks can easily encompass a visit to one.

Walking resources for Jersey

  • Bestwalks.com are a good resource for walking books, maps, and Free Walks.
  • Jersey Walk Adventures offer walks accompanied by fully trained guides, helping you discover some of the hidden areas of the island.
  • Jersey Heritage Holidays offer guided tours around Jersey as well as the other islands.
    Email: Beth Lloyd or Tel: 01534 862099.
  • Spring and Autumn Walking weeks are celebrated in Jersey, for more information contact Jersey Tourism:
    Tel: 01534 448877.
Fungi foray in Jersey
Walker on a cliff top in Jersey
Walkers in St Catherine's Woods, Jersey

Guernsey walks

Guernsey’s 24 square miles offer a network of planned routes around the coastal footpaths and ‘Ruettes Tranquilles’ where cars are limited in speed. The islands capital, St Peter Port lies on the eastern side of the island. Its pretty harbour and cobbled streets make for a delightful starting point. South from St Peter Port you can stop at Havelet Bay where you can see Sark and on a clear day, Herm. From the cliffs at Fermain Bay it is possible to see Alderney and further around the coast you can catch sight of Jersey and France at Jerbourg Point. Travelling around the wild and rugged south west coast path can be exhilarating with the high cliffs and crashing waves below. Approaching Pleinmont Point, Guernsey’s wartime coastal defences really come into view and the area also serves as a nature reserve. Towards the west of the island the sandy bays of Vazon and Cobo beach are ripe for windsurfing and lead onto the rocky northern inlets where colourful fishing boats are busy bringing in lobster catches. Although never far from the sea, inland Guernsey offers valleys and picturesque charm. The islanders fondness for selling their produce at the roadside with payment into an ‘honesty box’ makes for little treats along the way. Smaller walks such as the Millennium walk at St Saviour Reservoir afford an hour spent in tranquil woodland observing nature at its best. In springtime Guernsey is carpeted with bluebells and by summer it is alive with exotic flowers. Coastal walks can be more of a challenge with steep steps and undulating terrain – sturdy footwear warning for those walks!

Walking resources for Guernsey

  • The occupation, smuggling tales, secret coves, historic gardens, witch trials, painters and writers all feature in some of the excellent walking guides Visit Guernsey has produced. Taking you through an island as steeped in history as scenic beauty, there are walks suited to all ages and abilities.
  • Worth mentioning are the downloadable ‘tasty guides’, a series of 11 self guided walks which can be taken at your own pace and encompass the best walks with fantastic places to eat. The guides are free and include access to interactive maps and an audio guide narrated by James Strawbridge, who sailed to St Peter Port in the ITV series The Hungry Sailors.
  • Guernsey Walker‘ is an online resource for downloading printable walk guides.
  • Outdoor Guernsey offer bespoke walking tours for individuals or groups.
People walking up steep steps in Guernsey
D001-00415-autumn-walking
Couple looking down on the sea in Guernsey

Walking in Sark

Car free and just 3 miles by 0.5 miles, Sark is small enough to discover in a day but also offers over 40 miles of walks in and around the island. Life on Sark is tranquil and the harbour and village offer plenty in the way of food and hospitality. Some of the old footpaths have been reopened and walks take routes through the isle’s green carpeted headlands, leading inland to valleys, gardens and vineyards. A haven for spring bluebells, the gorseland attracts a variety of butterflies and insects which by summer have turned a vivid yellow. Towards the steep cliffs, puffins and dolphins can be seen whilst local fishermen bring in their catches. Little Sark can be reached via ‘La Coupée’ or high narrow path which until 1900 remained unfenced and children would crawl over on their hands and knees, just in case they fell! Little Sark has a rocky west coast, but following the maze of pathways will lead you to inlets and natural bathing pools. Golden beaches can be found on the north and east coast. Accessed via some steep steps, you will find La Grande Grève beach, which is one of the most popular beaches.

Walking resources for Sark

  • Simply Sark website – details about guided rock pool rambles, wildflower walks and garden walks on Sark.
  • Sarkislandhotels website – two good suggestions for walks around the west side of the island and Dixcart Bay.
  • The Isle of Sark website offers insights into walks as well as the flora and fauna on Sark.

Herm walks

This tiny island offers 4 miles of coastal footpaths, no cars or bicycles, wildflowers, golden sands, cliffs and valleys. From the harbour in the west there are signposted trails around the coastal paths and through ‘Spine Road’ across the centre of Herm. Head northwards to more hilly terrain and the common to reach Shell Beach on the northern coast, for white sand and bright blue sea. To the west, the Bear’s Beach heads back to the harbour and at low tide a causeway joins the smaller Hermietier Island. Heading south from the harbour, you will find the rocky south coast. Foxgloves and buddleias line the way in late spring and summer and the footpath affords views of little inlets. Heading down Rosiere Steps will lead to one of the islands quarries and through to Pointe Sauzebourge, with views of the little island of Jethou. Puffins can be spotted at the aptly named Puffin Bay along the way. The cliff path leads around to the sheltered Belvoir Bay and further on to Shell Beach again. At no point will you be more than an hour away from the harbour. Belvoir and Shell Beach have their own cafés which open in season. The natural paths can be rugged and stony as well as steep in places – a stout pair of walking shoes is recommended!

Walking resources for Herm

  • Visit Guernsey hold twice yearly walking festivals on Herm in May and September.
  • Google offers a concise guide and map of the island.

Alderney Walks

Fifty miles of footpaths cover this beautiful and tranquil island of just 3.5 by 1.5 miles. Traffic is limited to 35 mph around the island and the terrain is varied, but mostly gentle. The long sandy beaches, near the northern harbour of Braye, climb upwards to the picturesque cobbled streets in the main town of St Anne. A series of valleys run north to south and the quiet lanes of the island meander through common-land rich with wildlife and wildflowers. Dramatic cliff walks around the south coast take in Alderney’s rich historic past and concentration of Roman, Victorian and German fortifications. Zig-zag coastal paths lead to views of stacks and fortifications, which are now abundant breeding grounds for puffins and other wild birds.

Walking resources for Alderney

  • Visit Alderney have a number of self guided walks available to download.
  • Alderney Wildlife Trust organises guided walks with a specialist interest in the wildlife and natural habitats on Alderney.
Herm by Chris George, Coast Media, courtesy of Visit Guernsey
Footprints in the sand in Guernsey
Walking on the seabed in Jersey