80. Bonne Nuit to Gorey

August 2007

For this walk we are taking in the north east part of Jersey. We had spent the night at the Rose Farm camp site near St Brelade (now closed). 

After we were ready we headed down the road to catch the bus into St Helier and onwards to Bonne Nuit. The previous day we had had problems with buses, but today everything ran smoothly, and we arrived back at Bonne Nuit around 9:30am. It was another fine day with warm sunshine throughout the day.

The harbour at Bonne Nuit looked lovely in the morning light.

Bonne Nuit Bay, Jersey

The coast path initially followed the road out of Bonne Nuit climbing as it did so but as the road curved away from the coast behind the Cheval Roc Hotel, there was a cliff path which we could follow back onto the cliff top at the other end of the bay.

View back to Bonne Nuit

The cliffs were low here and the path soon descended so that it was only a few metres above the beach. We were now heading towards the rocky beach of Giffard Bay. The cliffs were entirely green covered in bracken, gorse and heather – obviously a sheltered coast that suffers little from erosion. At the land between Bonne Nuit and Giffard Bay there was another World War II fort, La Crete fort.

View ahead to Giffard Bay

The cliff path headed right behind the beach and then near the end of the beach began to climb up steps as we headed to Belle Hougue. Bonne Nuit had already disappeared behind the corner.

View back to Bonne Nuit

Ahead we had more fine walking along the coast path which can clearly be made out winding it’s way around the bracken covered cliffs.

Approaching Belle Hougue

It was a gently undulating walk and as we headed out to the headland at Belle Hougue, Bonne Nuit came back into view, with the harbour wall visible at the far end.

View back to Bonne Nuit

The coast path continued near the bottom of these rocky cliffs keeping us close to the sea. We soon reached another little bay, this one the rocky Petit Port. The coast path was becoming steeper now and headed a little higher up the cliffs.

East of Belle Hougue

Heading further inland along tracks, where we passed a memorial to Operation Hardtack 28 which was a raid that took place during World War II. A service is still held here each year.

Operation Hardtack 28 memorial

The path soon entered woodland giving us an opportunity to cool off in the shade whist a helpful sign directed us “Cliff path to Bouley Bay”. The path was quite steep at times though, with trees roots and rocks protruding from the path. It was a long way up, but once we reached the top, we had a view back to the little bay of Vicard.

Vicard

The path continued at a higher level and gave us occasional glimpses of a shingle and rocky beach below.

The coast east of Vicard

Soon the cliff tops showed evidence of a fire, with burnt and blackened gorse. It looked like it had happened a few weeks ago, although it only covered a small area. Just past this point we came to steps, as the coast path descended down to Bouley Bay. The large building at the back of the beach is a hotel, The Waters Edge Hotel (although a quick Google suggests it closed down a few weeks ago and is to be demolished).

Bouley Bay

The coast path dropped us at the slipway leading down to the beach. We decided to head down onto the beach for a little explore – there was a little tidal island at the far end (well, some rocks really). We walked out to it and climbed up onto the rocks, where there was some vegetation on top, which I think qualifies it as an island (or at least, it does if the vegetation survives during the winter). We stopped on the island for the first part of lunch, enjoying a rest and fine views.

Bouley Bay

Looking back there has clearly been some work to stabilise the cliffs with a sea wall and netting behind it. The view ahead showed that this part of the walk was also going to be quite tough.

View east from Bouley Bay

Soon we left our rock and returned to the coast path which runs behind the beach. It was a gentle climb out of the bay initially, but soon the path became steep  with some zig zag stretches, but it was a fabulous stretch of the path. The height gained gave us a wonderful back over beautiful Bouley Bay. It is a shame that hotel is closing, it must be a lovely place to stay.

Bouley Bay

The coast ahead was rugged all the way to the next headland at Tour de Rozel.

View to Tour de Rozel

Once at the top the path was more undulating than steep but we were now in the hottest part of the day, so our pace slowed down quite a bit. It was however a gorgeous stretch of the coast, possibly the best in fact, with rocky coves, heather clad cliffs and the sound of the sea below.

Looking back we could just make out the harbour wall at Bouley Bay.

View back to Bouley Bay

Ahead we had a small valley to descend part way into and back up the other side. We were now at the highest point of the cliffs between Bouley Bay and Rozel, so we stopped for a brief rest and spotted this ferry going past (it no longer operates).

HD Ferries HD1

The view back where we had come was particularly spectacular, you can make out the dip in the coast at Bouley Bay and the rocky cliffs we had been following.

View back to Bouley Bay

Ahead there was a dead-end path down to the headland which we took to reach another old fort. This one is clearly earlier than World War II and looked to be abandoned at the time, disappearing into the undergrowth.

L'Etacquerel fort

So it is a surprise on searching for it to find that it is now used for holiday accommodation although it is more bunk house style, with no running water or electricity but it can accommodate up to 30! A lovely remote location, but I imagine the lack of water must be a problem! Of course by descending to the fort, we had to climb back up to the cliff top again, so it was hard work. The coast path continued along the cliff tops, now descending gradually to reach the car park at Tour de Rozel. It offered one last view back to Bouley Bay.

Last view to Bouley Bay

Ahead there was also a very grand cliff top property.

Grand house near Rozel

Sadly the coast path ended here, and we had to had slightly inland along minor roads including the track leading to that grand house. Soon the road reached the cliff top again and we had a fine view over the next beach we were now approaching, Rozel.

Rozel

Soon we were down at the water level and this attractive sandy beach. There were some grand looking houses behind the beach which must be idyllic in weather like this, just a few steps down to the beach, as well as some brightly coloured smaller houses.

Rozel

There was also a small sheltered harbour, packed with boats. All the small harbours on the north coast of Jersey seem to be well used although the boats look mostly pleasure boats rather than fishing boats.

Rozel

We walked along the little pier beside the harbour to get a view back over the little village that backs onto the beach.

Rozel

We walked along the edge of the beach to the far end. Sadly there was not a coast path ahead either, with the route mostly along the roads. It was now a warm afternoon and neither of us were especially encouraged by the route ahead. Looking ahead, I could see low rocks at the waters edge. It didn’t look that hard to walk around, so I suggested to Alex we give it a go and he agreed it looked like the best option.

So we set off and it was initially quite easy. We made fairly easy progress and getting a good view back to Rozel in the progress.

View back to Rozel

Ahead though it soon became clear this was likely a mistake. The easy rocks we had been following had come to an end, there were now very uneven rocks at the base of the cliffs, which the waves were now splashing up. Here is Alex deciding on our next move (and probably cursing me for suggesting it!)

The coast east of Rozel

We headed to the back of this small bay but decided we could not easily get any further along the base of the cliffs. The only option was to see if we could climb up, or go back. Alex was ahead of me, and decided to try climbing these cliffs. I had now idea where we would end up, I had visions of reaching someone’s garden. Alex assured me on the top, it was just more bracken which we could walk though. So I followed, but near the top somehow got off balance and very nearly fell backwards off the cliff, which could have been serious. Thankfully I managed to regain my balance and make it to the top. We then had to crash through the bracken to regain the minor road above the coast. Needless to say this was the last time we decided to stray off the coast path like that, where there wasn’t a beach.

Soon after we had made it back to the safety of the road, there was a small stretch of cliff path again, which offered a fine last view back to Rozel.

View back to Rozel

It then descended down to a small rocky and pebble beach where we stopped for a rest.

Beach east of Rozel

We then had the expected steep climb back up to the other side of the valley where the coast path then joined a minor road heading out to the headland of Saie Harbour. Just around the corner was a small rock and sand beach, La Coupe.

La Coupe

Beyond you can see the enormous St Catherine’s Breakwater. This is around 600 metres long and is all the remains of a once grand plan (which was later abandoned) for a harbour here. It is now used mostly be anglers.

We headed down onto the beach which had some sand at the shore line for another rest and a quick paddle in my case.

La Coupe

Heading back up from the beach we had to follow roads past some large houses, whose architecture is quite French I thought. The reason is obvious I suppose – beyond it the coast of France is clearly visible (perhaps that will be my next coastal walking project?!)

Fliquet Bay

The road we had been following soon descended down to Fliquet Bay. This one is a pebble beach with rocks at low tide and a few houses at the back.

Fliquet Bay

There is a road behind it though, which made for a fairly gentle walk.

View back to Fliquet Bay

Soon we reached the land end of St Catherine’s Breakwater which stretches rather pointlessly out to sea.

St Catherine's Breakwater

There was another old fort here which looked pre World War II but likely one that had been modernised and used during the war too. The large tarmac area at the end of the breakwater looked to be used mostly for boat parking.

The road now followed the coast making for an easy walk, which we were glad off after the steep paths earlier in the walk. We soon reached another peaceful pebble beach, this one is Belval Cove.

Belval Cove

We continued along the minor road to reach the larger St Catherine’s Bay. This is a sheltered little bay on the east coast and the coast is now gentler with low cliffs and trees behind the coast.

St Catherine's Bay

There is another of the islands many Martello towers behind the beach too. We followed the low sea wall behind the bay. The tide was quite high now so there was not a beach for the middle section of the bay although I think that changes at low tide. At the end of the bay was another small village and another Martello Tower, Archirondel.

Archirondel

Beyond it there was another pebble beach, which seems to be un-named on my map, but is I suspect called Archirondel after the tower. I noticed the Martello towers on the island are often painted different colours, I suspect to aid navigation. The beach here started as pebbles but soon we had fine sand to walk on.

Archirondel

We stopped for another rest here, where I had another paddle in the warm waters. Soon the beach returned to pebbles and so we resumed our route along the minor road (the B29) at the back of the beach. We had a brief break from the road at a small viewpoint and picnic spot giving us a good view back around St Catherine’s Bay, with the red and white Martello tower at Archirondel catching the eye.

St Catherine's Bay

Ahead too there was another good beach, this one the small one of Anne Port. Presumably it was once a port, but there is little evidence of any sort of port or harbour now.

Anne Port

We followed the sea wall/promenade along the back of this fine beach and then returned to the B29. The view ahead was changing though, and quite dramatically

Mont Orgueil Castle

This is Mont Orguiel Castle, one of the most famous sights of the island. I like a good castle and this one is fantastic (and open to the public). This coastal walk has taken me to some wonderful castles and this is one of the best.

It is built into the rock, something which I had never seen quite like this before (but it is similar to Bamburgh in that respect). Although we did not visit the castle on this visit (as it was now early evening, so it was closed) I had visited before and was fascinated to see bits of the rocky cliffs jutting into some of the rooms inside the castle.

We followed the road around beside the castle to have our end in sight, Gorey harbour.

Gorey Harbour

I think it is fair to say we were both exhausted at this point, being one of the longest and hardest walks I had done at the time and I think the same was true for Alex.

The castle really towers over this village as can be seen on this famous view below with the castle dominating the view. It features on many postcards and brochures of Jersey.

Mont Orgueil Castle and Gorey

We were very tired and Alex suggested we went to the pub (I think a hotel bar) along the back of the beach, where we quickly downed some soft drinks. After a sit down and a drink we were soon feeling refreshed and less tired, so switched to the beer. We were enjoying ourselves looking at the stunning view and reminiscing over this lovely walk. We decided it was such a nice setting we ate there too.

When we emerged from the pub a couple of hours later the sun was almost setting, but it was illuminating the castle in a wonderful glow.

Mont Orgueil Castle and Gorey

We walked a little distance along side the harbour wall to reach the bus stop. We had timed our exit from the pub to match that of the bus timetable, so we didn’t have long to wait for a bus for the short ride back to St Helier and then changed buses for the journey back along the sea front of St Helier to our campsite near St Brelade.

It had been a great day. The north east coast of the island had proved to be stunningly beautiful with many rocky coves, beautiful sandy beaches and perhaps the highlight of the day, rounding the corner to the impressive castle at Gorey.

Here are the details of the public transport needed for this walk. If doing this as a linear walk, you will need to change buses in St Helier :-

Liberty Bus service 4 : St Helier Liberation Bus Station – St Marks – Trinity Gardens – Augres – La Nouvelle – La Mere des Pres – Hautes Croix – Mont Mado – Bonne Nuit Bay. Approximately once every 2 hours Monday – Saturday. No Sunday service.

Liberty Bus service 1/1G : St Helier Liberation Bus Station – La Collette – Havre des Pas – La Mare – Le Bourg – Grouville Station – Gorey Pier. 4 times per hour Monday – Saturday. Twice per hour on Sundays.

Here is the complete set of photos for this walk : Main LinkSlideshow

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