The Ruins of Grosnez Castle
Grosnez Castle is located on a headland on the northwest of Jersey. Grosnez means Gray Headland. The castle which is now in ruins is thought to have been built in the 14th century to provide shelter for the local farmers in the event of attacks from France. We got there on bus number 8 from St Helier.
When we boarded the bus, we asked the driver if his bus went to the castle and he told us it was not a castle, just a few rocks, not worth going to and we would only be disappointed when we got there. We went anyway and when he called us to get off at the castle, he repeated that we were wasting our time and would just hate the place. In fact we might as well not even bother getting off and should just return to St Helier with him. We got off anyway.
We were unsurprisingly not expecting much from the castle but in fact really liked it. All right the castle itself does just consist of a few ruins but it is surrounded by beautiful coastal scenery and was in no respect disappointing. Also we almost had the area to ourselves, probably no-one else made it past the bus driver!!
There are concrete steps at the rear of Grosnez Castle that go down to a small automated signal station. There are wonderful coastal views from the platform.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
We walked along the coastal path from Bonne Nuit Bay to Bouley Bay passing by La Crete Fort built to repel suspected invasions by the French.
The coastal path is stunning with beautiful views over the surrounding cliffs and sea. In July it was purple with heather. Take care though; it can be slippy; at one point my husband almost slipped over the edge while taking a photo and was saved by a bramble bush.
This area was once notorious for smuggling. The smugglers would lure ships onto the rocks, kill their crew and plunder their cargo which they could hide in various caves. To prevent people witnessing their illegal nightime deeds, the smugglers spread a legend about a giant black dog that wandered the cliffs at night attacking any wanderers unfortunate enough to cross its path. This dog is known as the black dog of Bouley Bay. The dog was rumoured to have red devil eyes as big as saucers. It dragged a huge chain which its victims would hear before they saw the beast. The dog did no actual bodily harm to its victims, but it ran circles aound them driving them mad with fear. Now a sight or sound of the dog is believed to mean a severe storm is coming.
We visited on a sunny day so did not encounter the beast, but the cliffs are atmospheric and I would not like to wander them alone late in the evening!!!
There was a pub named after the black dog in Bouley Bay. It has a little statue of the dog. We had a pleasant drink there.
Bouley Bay has a beach. We swam here and I also enjoyed a tasty fresh crab sandwich from its cafe. There is a centre for scuba diving at Bouley Bay.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
St Helier is the capital of Jersey and its biggest town. It is located on the southern side of the island in St Aubin's Bay. The town is named after Saint Helier; Jersey’s earliest and most important saint. He lived and preached on Jersey in the 8th Century.
St Helier has a busy harbour and marina, a beach, a castle that's surrounded by the sea at high tide, several statues and Liberation Square.
The castle in the sea is St Elizabeth's Castle. It is built on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay. At low tide you can walk out to it. At high tide it is surrounded by the sea. It is possible to take a vehicle there and back at both low and high tide, but we just walked both ways and made sure we paid attention to the tide information which was posted up. It was quite interesting to watch the tide come in.
Elizabeth Castle has an interesting history. It contains the Hermitage where St Helier lived around 550 A.D. It was also once home to Sir Walter Raleigh. He was Governor of Jersey from 1600 until 1603. Elizabeth Castle was built as Jersey's main defensive structure after Castle Mont Orgueil in Gorey was considered too vulnerable to attack by gunpowder. Castle Mont Orgueil was supposed to be dismantled and its materials used to build Elizabeth Castle. Fortunately, Walter Raleigh put a stop to this and Castle Mont Orgueil survived. Charles II hid from the roundheads at Elizabeth Castle during the English Civil War.
Liberation Square was developed in 1995 to mark the 50th Anniversary of Jersey's Liberation from German Occupation during World War II. Jersey was liberated by British forces on May 9th 1945. During the occupation the islanders had undergone terrible hardships.
At the centre of Liberation Square is a sculpture depicting a group of people holding the Union Jack and celebrating thei freedom. This sculpture was created by Philip Jackson. The sculpture is in the centre of a fountain with 12 water jets; one for each parish of Jersey. To the north of Liberation Square stands the Pomme D’Or Hotel. This building was used by the Nazis as their Headquarters during the German Occupation.
There is also a statue of Queen Victoria in St Helier. She visited the Island twice during her reign and found it very beautiful. The statue of her was erected in 1887 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. It is located in a small park near the Grand Hotel.
Another odd statue was that of a toad on one of the main streets.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Grouville Parish Church.
We kept passing this lovely church on the bus as we travelled back and forth to Bonne Nuit Bay, so decided to get off and investigate it.
Grouville Parish Church is dedicated to St Martin of Tours. He is known as the Soldier Saint. His Saint’s day is 11th November - Remembrance Day. The church dates from the 11th century.
The churchyard contains a memorial to the British grenadiers who died attacking the French at La Rocque during the invasion of 1781. We wandered around the churchyard and encountered some people trying to locate their ancestors' graves.
We had a very pleasant meal in a pub not far from the church.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
The Jersey Lavendar Farm.
I'm very fond of flowers and Jersey with its hours of sunlight is famous for them. We enjoyed a visit to the colourful Jersey Lavendar Farm with its lovely fields of highly scented light blue lavendar. You can get here from St Helier on bus number 12A or bus number 15.
The Jersey Lavender Farm is a family-run business. It was started in 1983 when the parents of the current owner, Alastair Christie, inherited a disused dairy farm. They decided to grow lavender on the farm as it was a perfect crop for the soil in this area. The Jersey Lavendar Farm grows, harvests and distils lavender to produce lavender essential oil. They also grow rosemary, eucalyptus, bay laurel and cypress and distill their oils, too.
There was a lovely cafe and gift shop here.Related to:
- Family Travel
The Devil in Jersey.
The Devil’s Hole is a natural crater in a cliff. It measures about 100ft across and plunges 200ft down. It was created by the sea gradually eroding the roof of a cave.
After a shipwreck in 1851 a ship's figurehead was washed up right into the Devil's Hole. The figurehead was a statue of a man, but the statue was placed inside the Devil's Hole and horns were added to his head to turn him into the devil. The original wooden statue has since deteriorated; the present one is made of metal. It's quite eerie to see the statue standing all alone in its pond. The scenery around this area is lovely.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Gorey is situated on the east coast of Jersey. You can get there on bus 1,1A or 1B from St Helier. Gorey is a little fishing village dominated by the Castle of Mont Orguiel.
The Village of Gorey began to develop early in the 19th century as hundreds of oyster fishermen moved to Jersey from the south east coast of England. At its height around 2,500 people were employed in the oyster fishing industry here and rows of fisherman's cottages were built to house them. Severe overfishing brought about the industry's decline and for a while boat building took over as the new industry .
Mont Orgueil Castle towers over the Village of Gorey. It was built on a headland surrounded on three sides by water. Its purpose was to repel attacks from France. It is on the headland of Jersey which is closest to mainland France. The castle is first mentioned around 1212.
When gun powder was invented Mont Orgueil Castle was considered indefensible and a new castle was built in St Helier which was easier to defend - Elizabeth Castle. The original plan was to dismantel Mont Orgueil Castle and use the stones to build Elizabeth Castle. Fortunately this plan was vetoed by Sir Walter Raleigh who was then govenor of Jersey. He thought it would be a pity to detroy Castle Mont Orgueil.
When its importance as a castle declined, Mont Orgueil Castle was used as a prison - the only prison on Jersey at the time - until the end of the seventeenth century.
The castle and village are very beautiful and I would strongly recommend a visit here.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Bonne Nuit Bay
After a couple of nights in St Helier we moved to Le Cheval Roc Hotel in Bonne Nuit Bay. Bonne Nuit Bay is located on the north coast of Jersey. Bonne Nuit has a small fishing harbour, beach and beach cafe. The coastal scenery here is lovely and we walked from Bonne Nuit Bay to Bouley Bay along the coastal paths. Bonne Nuit Bay is connected to St Helier by the number 4 bus. Bonne Nuit Bay takes its name from its sheltered harbour where sailors could moore and be guaranteed a good night's sleep safe from rough seas.
Le Cheval Roc was a comfortable hotel with a lovely outdoor swmming pool. The hotel's name originates from a local legend.
One upon a time a beautiful young girl called Anne-Marie went for a stroll along the beach at Bonne Nuit. A lonely old sea sprite saw her and decided to take her as his bride, but he knew she would never accept him as she loved another. His name was William. The next day to his astonishment William found a magnificent white stallion in his stable. He longed to ride it, but warned in a dream that the stallion meant to harm him, he first picked some mistletoe to protect him from evil. Next day as William rode the white stallion across Bonne Nuit Beach towards Anne-Marie the stallion, which was really the sea sprite in disguise, suddenly charged towards the sea. William realised the stallion meant to drown him and he frantically began to strike it with the mistletoe. The stallion went rigid and turned to stone - the cheval roc.
One of the rocks in Bonne Nuit Bay is supposed to look like a horse.
La Crete Fort is located on a headland in Bonne Nuit Bay. It was built to guard against a suspected French invasion of the island.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
St Ouen's Bay
Near La Corbiere Lighthouse is St Ouen's Bay. There is a long stretch of beach here. This area is popular with surfers but is dangerous for swimmers due to strong currents. In the middle of the bay surrounded by water twice a day stands La Rocco Tower. This tower dates from the 1800s. It consists of a fortified central tower with a large surrounding gun platform. La Rocco Tower was once part of Jersey's extensive coastal defence system.
The Jersey Pearl was located in this area, too.This is a family business devoted to making pearl jewellery.Related to:
We walked along the route of the old railway from St Aubin's to La Corbiere with its beautiful lighthouse.
La Corbiere Lighthouse is located in south-western Jersey. It was designed by Sir John Coode and was completed in 1874. It is located on an island you can walk to at low tide, but it becomes completely cut off at high tide. A buzzer sound warns you when to get off the walkway linking the lighthouse to the shore as the tide is coming in. There was a plaque commemorating Peter Edwin Larbalestier, assistant keeper of the lighthouse, who was drowned on the 28th of May 1946, while trying to rescue a visitor cut off by the incoming tide.
La Corbiere Lighthouse is 19m or 62 ft high and its lamp stands 36m or 119 ft above high water spring tides. The light from La Corbiere Lighthouse can be seen up to 18 miles away on a clear night.
The lighthouse itself is beautiful and so is the rugged rocky coastline that surrounds it. There are some watchtowers dating from the German occupation located on the cliffs around La Corbiere.Related to:
- Family Travel
We walked along the coast from St Helier to St Aubin's. There is a long stretch of beach on the way. St Aubin's is a very pretty place with a fort in the water, a beach and lots of restaurants and cafes. On the walk there we passed an amazing sand sculpture.
St Aubin's began life as a fishing village. The bay at St Aubin's is dominated by Saint Aubin's Fort. This fort is on an island you can walk to at low tide, but at high tide it is surrounded by the sea. St Aubin's Fort was built in the 1540s to protect the harbour of St Aubin's.
We then walked along the railway walk from St Aubin's to La Corbiere to see its famous lighthouse.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Boy Band Blake @ Fort Regent Leisure Centre
Blake will be performing at Fort Regent on Thursday 1st November.
The 4 piece boy band 'Blake' will be performing in Gloucester Hall Fort Regent Jersey on Thursday 1st November 2012 @ 8pm. I can't wait to return to Jersey to see them, they were good on TV :)
I highly recommend you check them out during your travels.
Tickets available online http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=JSLR&organ_val=35812&pid=7341344Related to:
- Theater Travel
stuff we did
-St Helier-nothing special but it is a good base and has the largest array of everything!
the waterfront is quite nice.
the beach nothing too great.
nightlife not great, most bars dont seem very lively.
-Gorey-noce castle, mont orguell, but £12 to get in, so we didnt.
-Rozel-tiny place with a large burger van and a restaurant called the navigator thats meant to be good.
-Bouley bay-nothing special, just a bay
-Bonne Nuit-a small harbour but a nice cafe called Bonne Nuit cafe is nice
-St Aubin-pretty tiny village with nice buildings and harbour and cafes.
-St Brelades bay-huge beach with rocky surrounding and some good cafes, Crab shack being one. nice place.
-Corbiere-lighthouse and rocky coastline
-Beaufort-lovely little bay surroundded by dramatic rocks
-Plemont bay-raved about - very nice beach and rocks, with cafe overlooking.
-Greve de lecq-a few cafes on a beach tahts not that great
Create your own postcard - Corbière Lighthouse
There are two ways to visit Corbière Lighthouse;
1. When the tide is low, you can walk up to the lighthouse and visit it
2. Planning your visit right, you can go see the sun setting on the lighthouse.
I did the last one and could not help drop a tear when watching this beauty. I was fortunate enough to see a golden sky appearing little by little behind this lighthouse.
Apparently it is even more amazing during winter times when the tides are high and stormy.
If you look properly for it, you will even find a little hidden bench where you can sit to enjoy the scenery and take a beautiful picture.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
I think anyone would enjoy a visit to this farm but, as I then taught aromatherapy and my mum was studying it at another college, this was at the top of our list of places to visit, during our holiday on the island. We got very lost finding it, without a proper map, and thought we would never get there but, when we did it, was well worth the visit. We started by visiting the medicinal herb garden and were interested to see some of the plants that we were familiar with seeing in our textbooks but had never seen live specimens of before.
After this, we headed for the steam distillation room, where the harvested stalks and flowers are loaded into giant vats, through which steam is passed to draw out the essences of the plants, so that when it is cooled as it leaves the containers, the water soluble extracts remain dissolved in the water (lavender water) and the oil based essences separate from the water and float on the top (lavender essential oil.) These can then be bottled separately and sold. We didn’t see the bottling in progress that day but were able to see the entire process, from growing the plants to labelling the bottles, on video in the distillation room. It was nice to see everything we had studied in theory put into practice before our eyes.
We enjoyed looking through the lavender fields, where all the plants grew in neat rows, producing a marvellous aroma, and attracting a great number of busy bees to collect their pollen and also liked the area dedicated to the huge number of different varieties of the plant, where we were amazed by the variation in shape, size and colour that exists.
Finally, we headed off to the shop, which sells everything you could possibly imagine that could incorporate lavender flowers or essential oils in its make up. Having bought lavender essential oil from a variety of suppliers, I must say theirs has one of the nicest smells. I also bought a bag of the dried lavender you can see in the picture.
Seasonal Opening: May to September, Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
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