Walk 5009 - St Peter Port to Petit Bot Bay
|Length||9.0 miles / 14.6 km|
|Ascent||1150 feet / 348 metres |
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Leave the harbour by taking the steep steps to rejoin the cliff path. At the top of the climb turn left. Continue until the path reaches a T-junction then turn right. The left turn leads down to Jaonnet Bay. A little further along the route it will be possible to look down into the bay and see the steps and stainless steel ladder that facilitate access to the beach. Head along the cliff top to Petit Bot Bay, which is less than a kilometre away. When the path reaches the road turn left into the bay where there is another eighteenth century coastal defence tower and a beach café. Take the road out of Petit Bot Bay in a north-westerly direction and follow this for approximately 800 metres where it meets the busy Forest Road opposite the Forest Stores (Perry's Guide 29 E2). Buses can be boarded here for St Peter Port, or walk the short distance to the Airport where there is a taxi rank.
Start at the Bus Station in St Peter Port adjacent to the Albert Marina (Perry's Guide 25 G1); head south along the South Esplanade. Havelet Bay is soon reached from where Castle Cornet can be viewed across the water. The castle was built on an islet on the south side of St Peter Port Harbour, but can now be accessed on foot from the southern arm of the harbour. From Havelet Bay, the island of Herm can be seen across the Little Russell, and further away, weather permitting, Sark.
At Le Val des Terres, keep left and follow the shore along La Valette. After passing the bathing pools the road suddenly comes to an end at the Aquarium. Take the steps following the sign for Cliff Path to Fermain and South Coast. At the top of the steps pass through an archway to reach Les Terres Point and the entrance to Clarence Battery. A little time might be spent here exploring the preserved ramparts. There is also a small collection of original and replica cannon typical of the weapons used in the nineteenth century to defend Fort George, which was located on the hill behind.
Leaving Clarence Battery turn left and continue along the coast with the outer wall of Fort George on the right. A path is soon reached dropping down to the left to Soldiers Bay, so called because it was used as a bathing place by the garrison. The route continues ahead following the signs for Fermain. The path ends at an access road leading to cliff top residencies; follow this road along the top of the cliffs. Many of the houses here have their living rooms on the first floor so that the occupants can take advantage of the views over the sea and the neighbouring islands.
Three hundred and fifty metres further on the footpath is rejoined at a heavily wooded area. At first more remains of the outer wall of Fort George are on the right. Soon the path drops down to a wire fence protecting the indigenous blue bells, which produce a spectacular carpet of colour in this area each spring. Turn left to head towards Fermain Bay. After continuing some distance along the cliffs a sign for The Moorings is reached; ignore this and climb the short flight of steps and at the top turn left. Keep following the signs for Fermain Bay taking a couple of sharp turns to the left and steps down to the bay.
Just after the Beach Café there is one of fifteen small round towers built along the coastline during 1778 - 79 when there was fear that France would invade following its alliance with the Americans in the war of independence. These towers are numbered in an anti-clockwise direction starting from St Peter Port; the one at Fermain Bay being number fifteen. Beyond the tower note the States of Guernsey pumping station to divert fresh water from the stream into the drinking water supply before it flows into the sea.
Leave Fermain Bay by crossing the metal bridge in front of the pumping station and following the sign for St Martins Pt. Climb to a view point overlooking Fermain Bay. From there it is possible to look back to Castle Cornet, and in the far distance, on a clear day, the island of Alderney can be seen. Beyond the view point take a left turn for Bec du Nez and Marble Bay. The route now drops down through a wooded valley, and a little further on curves to the right following the coastline. Eventually a steep climb up a series of steps is rewarded by a glimpse of the pier and slipway of the little harbour of Bec du Nez, which provides moorings for a number of small open boats. Further on a path on the left leads to this isolated refuge.
Keep straight ahead until a left turn down a small valley is indicated for Marble Bay and St Martins Pt. At the bottom of the valley ignore the left turn that leads into Marble Bay and follow the path up the other side of the valley. Continue ahead following the signs for St Martins Pt. The footpath ends at a steep climb up a series of steps to reach the car park at Jerbourg Point. To the right at the top of the steps is a view point located on top of a German Naval Command Bunker. From here, if there is good visibility, in addition to the islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark, Jersey and the coast of France can be seen.
Exit the car park in a south-westerly direction along the coast on the access road leading to cliff top residences. After passing Seaplane Bungalow there are a few steps down onto the cliff footpath. A little further on the second of two German observation bunkers on the left overlooks the Pea Stacks (Les Tas de Pois d'Amont) and is used by members of the RSPB as a hide; the stacks being an important breeding site for sea birds. Follow the coastal path towards Petit Port eventually dropping down below a bungalow and climbing up again to where the path joins an access road. Turn left; a few metres further on a prominent small rock tower on the top of the cliff presents a fine view point for those with a head for heights. Petit Port Bay is below, and on the far side of Moulin Huet Bay the Dog and Lion Rocks, so called because of their resemblance to those animals, can be seen.
Continue on the cliff paths keeping left to follow the coast line and soon reach the top of a concrete staircase leading down to the beach at Petit Port. Stay on the cliff top path and head toward Moulin Huet. At a shallow valley, keep left to continue along the coast. The path eventually heads inland at a wooded valley and comes to an end at a few stone steps with a metal hand rail leading to an access road. Turn left and soon join Les Courtes Fallaizes. Follow the lane down for a few metres to where it ends and the cliff footpath continues on the other side of a wooden barrier that provides access for pedestrians only. Go down the path to where it ends at another wooden barrier. Turn left to drop down steeply toward the beach at Moulin Huet. Just before the beach take the path to the right which climbs by a series of steps to the top of the cliffs above. Turn left to head towards Saint's Bay. The path continues along the cliff until it eventually drops down to meet the road into Saint's Bay. Twenty-five metres down take a right fork following the sign for Saints Harbour. This road passes behind the eighteenth century coastal defence tower to reach the small harbour used by local boats. Pause here for a while to take in the view of the bay. Note the yellow marker just above the beach that indicates the landfall of a telephone cable.
Dramatic cliffs drop down to the sea along the whole of the route from Petit Bot Bay to Pleinmont. Following on from walk 5009 'St Peter Port to Petit Bot Bay' the route along these cliff paths completes the traverse of Guernsey's south coast cliffs. There are a series of watch houses along the way, which in the later years of the eighteenth century were manned by local militia when fear of French invasion was at its greatest. Pleinmont, near to the end of the walk, is one of the least developed parts of the island and consequently some of the best preserved of the German war time fortifications are to be found in that area. The view from Pleinmont Point out to sea over Les Hanois rocks has inspired artists and writers; not least the celebrated French author Victor Hugo.
For further information on grid references go to Where to Walk - Guernsey
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