JERSEY’S National Park lays claim to four major south-facing headlands, each one officially endorsed as a Site of Special Interest (SSI).
This means that each of the headlands at Noirmont, Portelet, Beauport and La Lande du Ouest (Gorselands) has a treasure trove of ecological and historical goodies.
They also have networks of well defined footpaths offering an absolute wealth of coastal scenery that look at their dramatic best during the wild and fickle months of winter.
Sitting towards the top of a rambler’s ‘must do’ list of challenging winter walkabouts is the sterling ‘up and downer’ between Beauport and La Corbière. It’s a beautiful section of coastline and whether the walk is taken at a gentle pace or at a fitness-seeking gallop, it’s guaranteed to stimulate all the senses.
Starting from the picture-postcard headland at Beauport illustrates why its gently sloping mini-forest of evergreen oaks give a genuine taste of the Mediterranean.
Beauport headland was generously gifted to the people of Jersey by John Campbell Boot KBE, 2nd Baron Trent of Nottingham, a local philanthropist far better known as the founder of Boots the Chemist.
Another unique oddity of the Beauport coastline are some impressively balanced granite ‘building blocks’ that have probably stood the test of time for countless centuries.
Heading off along the undulating cliff-paths, the walk heads westward passing the remains of long redundant granite sheep pens and a tiny pebbled bay known as Fiquet.
Out of mind and out of sight along the lower shoreline are a number of deep caves.
History tells us that, shortly after the Island’s Liberation in 1945, a sizeable amount of German military hardware was unceremoniously dumped into the sea from here.
The maritime views from this section of the Park’s coastline are positively breathtaking and it’s easy to understand why the jagged formations of offshore reefs and rocky outcrops demand the highest respect from the boating fraternity.
The cliff-path now zig-zags its way up and past HM Prison at La Moye then on through the ecologically sensitive headland of La Lande du Ouest, better known as Gorselands, a heather and gorse strewn Site of Special Interest.
Before reaching journey’s end, the pathway passes alongside the gaunt structure of the desalination plant, a vital piece of engineering that sits in the shadow of an old quarry. It was this same quarry that provided much of the granite for London’s Thames Embankment.
The final steps of this winter fitness trail end in the shadow of one of the Island’s most photographed landmarks – La Corbière Lighthouse. Built in 1873, this iconic structure has weathered the heat of a multitude of hot summers and stood firm against the raging storms of countless winters.
With history, both ancient and modern, plus an ever-changing land and seascape, this is a coastline walk that, quite literally, will blow away the winter blues.