Anglo-French Travel 2017 travel blog

The Canada connection

Noirmont Tower built during the Napoleonic wars

Interior of St Brelades Church

Medieval paintings in the 14th century Fisherman's Chapel

Jersey cows

Entrance to the mound at La Hogue Bite site

A day of travelling around what is a small island but driving West from St Helier along the beach road we realised how populous the island is with houses hugging the coast, and how very English it is despite some roads having French names. Also very evident are the fortifications with towers, forts and a multitude of German bunkers plus lighthouses.

The largest bay, St Aubins, was once the port and commercial heart of Jersey and because of the cod trade links were formed with Canada. The island is divided into parishes, each one having its own major church and we visited St Brelades where the church has an unusual interior of stones and lovely stained glass by a local artist whose style shows evidence of the Pre- Raphaelites. Along side the church is the Fisherman's Chapel where under whitewash some medieval paintings have been discovered and in part restored.

On to the largest bay along much of the West Coast, St Ouen's Bay, wide sand extending for about 8 km, well at least it was wide sand when we arrived for lunch interested to see a life saving station and flags indicating the swimming area - devoid of swimmers - but as we were finishing lunch the life guards moved the flags further up the beach as the tide had turned and the beach was diminishing.

All along this bay the housing had continued and it was only once we had turned inland to head across the island that we began to see evidence of agriculture - the famous Jersey cows, the Jersey Royal potatoes, apples which are exported to Somerset for cider making because Jersey apples are six weeks ahead of the Somerset crop and we were told that in Jersey daffodils start to flower in late December, not for the cut flower market but for bulbs which are exported to Holland.

An archaeological site was our next stop where a huge mound could be entered by a very low tunnel leading into an internal chamber, not a burial site but somehow a sacred site with the light shining in at the equinox. Also by its size a symbol of power and mystery. Crouching low as I came out I stood just a little early causing concern to our guide but not a serious bump to my head. On the same site is a well set out Museum based around a find by two men of the area who used metal detectors and discovered a huge collection of coins and jewellery, buried for some reason and never reclaimed. The golden torque in the museum was in this find and the coins etc are still being cleaned and examined in a laboratory on the site.

As we left it became obvious that the weather was breaking up - strong wind and rain - so. Castle of Mt Orgueil was a quick stop to view a video rather than a walk around the battlements and wind blown and slightly damp we returned to our hotel and the news that the ferries will not be running tomorrow so we will stay an extra day on Jersey rather than moving on to Guernsey. Might have a quiet day tomorrow.

Time to move to the bar pre dinner. And more news on our "stranding".

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