Choice of routes: 8km to 11km
Noirmont headland circuit (grade 1): 8km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 155m
Beginning from the door of your hotel, this leisurely circular route leads along the coast and onto the Noirmont headland, from where the views over St Aubin’s Bay are simply spectacular. As you make your way around the rocky, gorse-scented headland, you will come across many reminders of Jersey’s occupation by German forces during World War II – the headland is home to the island’s war memorial, and to Battery Lothringen, a coastal artillery battery which is one of the best preserved in Western Europe. Later in the walk, you will encounter history of a far more ancient nature: your loop takes you to La Cotte de St Brélade, a Neanderthal site of international importance.
To Corbière lighthouse (grade 1): 11km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 190m
The opening of Jersey’s first railway in 1870 was a cause for great local celebration, however, it was never a commercial success, and today the former narrow-gauge line is a gentle, traffic-free walking trail, which this route follows east to the rocky headland of La Corbière and its lighthouse. The views from here are some of Jersey’s most iconic: at high tide the lighthouse rises above the swelling seas, and at low tide the waters recede to allow it to be reached on foot. The scenery shifts on the second half of the route, as you walk along cliff-top paths to St Brelade’s Bay, a gloriously expansive sweep of sand which is considered to be one of the best beaches in the British Isles. Be sure to spend some time relaxing here – there are a number of cafés and restaurants – before returning to St Aubin by bus.
Grève de Lecq circuit (grade 1): 8.5km, 3hrs; ascent/descent 210m
This varied route introduces you to Jersey’s dramatic north coast – a rugged landscape of bays, caves, small islands and high cliffs. The route begins (and ends) with a bus journey to the lovely sandy bay of Grève de Lecq, from where you follow cliff-top paths east to Sorel Point; as you walk, keep an eye out for red-billed choughs – these rare birds have been reintroduced to the area in recent years. The return leg of the route takes you inland, and reveals a bucolic landscape of tranquil, drystone-wall-edged country lanes and fertile fields grazed by Jersey cows. A real highlight of the route is the chance to call at La Mare Wine Estate: this former 18th-century farmhouse is today a well-regarded vineyard which produces a delicious array of wines, spirits and confectionary, as well as the island’s famous ‘black butter’, a spiced apple preserve.
Waterworks Valley and Jersey War Tunnels (grade 1): 9.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 180m
Beginning and ending with a bus journey, this fourth walking option gives you the chance to explore Jersey’s tranquil, rural interior. A delightful woodland path traces the route of old water mills through the Waterworks Valley to reach Hamptonne, a living farm museum. From here, quiet country lanes lead to Jersey War Tunnels, a vast underground complex which houses an immersive museum and gives a fascinating insight into what life was like on the island during World War II.
Mont Orgueil Castle to St Catherine’s Bay (grade 1): 8km, 2.5hrs; ascent/descent 155m
One of Europe’s finest medieval fortresses and a symbol of Jersey’s national identity, Mont Orgueil Castle makes an impressive starting point for your exploration of the island’s sheltered east coast. Set above the beautiful little fishing village of Gorey, the castle covers a staggering 800 years of history, beginning with its construction in 1212 as a defence against French aggression. This is the corner of the island closest to France, and the country’s shoreline can be seen in the distance as you make your way north along the coast, passing a succession of secluded bays, including Archirondel Beach with its distinctive red-and-white-painted Conway Tower. Your final destination is St Catherine’s Bay, at whose northern end is a huge breakwater – built by the British Government in 1847 when they intended for the bay to serve as a Royal Navy harbour. From here, retrace your steps south to Gorey, then return to St Aubin by bus (the route also begins with a bus journey to Gorey).