A new series of guided walks exploring the Island’s geological, natural and cultural heritage has been launched by the Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark (AJIG) project.
The ‘geowalks’ began at La Rocque and Plémont last week and continue at L’Etacq next Tuesday (10th), with further routes during the rest of May and into June, including at Mont-à-L’Abbé, La Pulente, Portelet Common and the woodlands at Grève de Lecq. Each walk is led by an experienced, local guide, who will explain the history of the surrounding landscape. The guides are Nicky Mansell, Trudie Trox, Jean Treleven and John Pinel.
The walks are part of AJIG’s continuing work towards securing the prestigious UNESCO Global Geopark status for the Island and the aim is for the new routes to be on offer to Islanders and visitors throughout the year.
Millie Butel, Jersey Heritage’s Landscape Engagement & Geopark Development Curator, explained that the geowalks evolved from the successful Deep Time Walks held last year. She said: “These guided geowalks celebrate the Island’s geological, natural and cultural heritage and fit perfectly with one of the Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark’s project’s main aims, which is to enable people to explore the Island’s landscape while also connecting with nature and Jersey’s heritage.
“There is a variety of routes available to suit different interests and walking abilities, and the hope is that the walks will eventually become part of the Geopark’s core programme of activities. The ideas and content for all of the routes, which feature some of Jersey’s many unique stories, came from local guides. We wanted to harness the existing knowledge and expertise available in the Island and provide a platform for this to be shared with the public in an interesting and fun way.”
The geowalks are a result of part of the Geopark Guide training, which is still in development. Millie said the AJIG team had taken the opportunity to ask the guides about what could be added to the Island’s existing offer of walks and how different parts of Jersey’s story could be told. They also asked the guides to peer review one another’s geowalks, with valuable input from geologists from Société Jersiaise Geology Section. The end result was the new geowalk routes and the four guides will go on to design and lead the next round of Geopark Guide training.
One of the first walks at La Rocque was led by guide Trudie Trox and walker Eleanor Browne finished the route saying: “Now I understand far more about the coast and how the rocks were formed, and how Neolithic man must have battled with the rising sea level after the Ice Age. Thank you for a lovely and fascinating morning. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”
Trudie added: “La Rocque is a geographically fascinating corner of the Island and a window into early human activities. Today, the impressive tidal movement of the ocean shapes the coast and is destructive as well as nurturing an incredible diversity of life, from the smallest worms to the huge seaweeds. This is why I called my walk ‘Fire, Ice and Ocean’.”
Tickets for the geowalks cost £10.30 and places are available to book at www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/jersey/geowalk/
Full AJIG geowalks programme
- Around L’Etacq and Le Pinacle
Tuesday, 10 May 2pm
Starting at L’Etacq by Faulkner Fisheries, look at the features which show that sea level and climate change is nothing new and the Anthropocene (the age of man) is upon us.
- The Mont-à-L’Abbé Landscape
Thursday, 12 May at 10am
Discover how the geology determines the landscape of valleys, uplands and ancient route ways and how the Ice Age provided soil which contributes so much to the Island’s agriculture.
- La Pulente and the Ormering Tide
Tuesday, 24 May at 10am
Explore the southern end of St Ouen’s Bay. Discover how the rocks created 500 to 600 million years ago have determined the landscape and its use.
- Into the Woods
Saturday, 28 May at 2pm
Explore the delightful woodlands at Grève de Lecq. See evidence for the land use changes made over several centuries. Discover the importance of trees and woodland in today’s world.
- The Secrets of La Cotte de St Brelade
Sunday, 12 June at 10:30am
Start on the beach and scramble over the foreshore to the foot of La Cotte de St Brelade to find out about the Neanderthals who used this site for almost 200,000 years, hunting woolly rhinoceros and mammoth across the now hidden coastal plain.
- Jersey’s Journey from the South Pole
Monday, 20 June at 4.30pm
How did the Ice Ages form the land where mammoths and woolly rhinoceros roamed Jersey’s tundra? Why was St Aubin’s Harbour once the most important on the Island? Find the answers hidden in the rocks as you stroll across the beach.
- Portelet Common
Saturday, 25 June at 10am
Take a tour of Portelet Common. Experience the wild nature and magnificent views of this outstanding heathland and discover why it has been important to humankind for millennia.
- La Cotte à la Chèvre
Wednesday, 13 July at 10am Discover the hunting cave of the Neanderthal people who inhabited the Island for over 200,000 years. You will need a good head for heights as this route is quite exposed, rocky and steep in places