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Walk 5005 - printer friendly version

St Peter's Mills & Tracks Walk

Author - Jersey Tourism

Length - 4.5 miles / 7.3 km

Ascent - 0 feet / 0 metres

Grade - easy/mod

This walk includes coast, country, mills and streams, with spectacular views of St.Aubin's Bay. Good footwear is essential since the tracks can be muddy after rain. Bus routes 9, 12, 12a, 14, and 15 provide a service from St Helier to St Aubin's Bay where the walk begins.

St Aubin's - Start from the car park at the Beaumont Perquage. St Aubin's Bay has played an important role in Jersey's fascinating history. During wars with the French in the 18th Century, Jerseymen were skilled privateers, capturing French shipping for the King. In 1779 there were 150 French prizes at anchor in the bay. In the second half of the 19th century Jersey had an important shipbuilding industry whose centre was in St Aubin's Bay, when over 800 wooden ships of up to 1000 tons were built. The beach here provided Jersey's first airport until 1937.

The Perquage - Cross the road by the traffic lights and proceed inland along the Perquage, the name for a path that ran alongside many streams in Jersey. The paths were one perch wide (24 feet or 7.3 metres) and allowed for inspection and maintenance of vital waterways. They are also thought to be sanctuary paths, providing an escape route to the sea for offenders who had sought sanctuary in a church. As you proceed inland the field on the left is called Goose Green Marsh. Brent geese visit Jersey every winter and can be seen feeding in this marshy field from October to April. Turn left at the end of the Perquage. This is Sandybrook.

Tesson MiII - Take the next right, Rue du Moulin, and walk to Tesson Mill. Notice the old quarry just before Tesson Mill, where the Germans operated a power station in the war. The Tessons, Norman barons, chose to remain in France in 1204, leaving the mills to King John when he lost Normandy. The National Trust for Jersey is now restoring the mill, the largest on the island. It was used during the war to produce flour and closed in 1960. The lovely little Tesson Chapel on the other side of the Green is one of many non-conformist chapels in Jersey. Just before Tesson Mill take the track signposted to Quétivel Mill and various "dons" and a "côtil". A "don" was a gift of land by the rich to the poor for growing food or gathering fuel in winter. A "côtil" is a hillside field.

Moulin de Quétivel - Follow the lower track running parallel with the stream to Moulin de Quétivel, which is open to the public during the summer. First recorded in 1299 as The King's Mill, Quétivel was one of eight water mills in this valley. At one time 47 mills served a thriving flour-making industry, both in the 18th and the early part of the 19th century. Russian wheat was imported and milled and the flour exported to North America.

Up the hill, past where the horses across the road keep an eye on passing walkers, is a track on the right continuing parallel with but above the stream. Follow the trail to Don Gaudin, where it divides. Either take the lower route by the pond and car park, crossing the stream and following the path alongside the road, or fork left before the wooden steps and continue through the woods, a more difficult but more attractive route. Both routes lead to Gargate Mill.

Gargate Mill - Gargate Mill, now disused and a private house, takes its name from Norse meaning "Gaer's road", perhaps a Viking raider who passed through here. The name Jersey is derived from the Norse "ey" meaning island and Ger or Gaer being the Norse chieftain who conquered it. Walk up Mont des Louannes and turn left at the top into Rue de la Hague. Cross over Mont Fallu into Rue de la Fontaine. There are views across the valley to the Roman Catholic Church of St Matthew in the north (with the TV mast alongside), the St Lawrence Parish Church in the east and the chimney of the Bellozane Incineration Plant, where most of Jersey's rubbish is dealt with, to the south.

Continue into Les Grupieaux (stony fields in Norman French), then take the little track on the right (La Ruette à la Vioge) which is steep but which provides magnificent views of the bay, and of Fort Regent and Elizabeth Castle. On a clear day the Minquiers will be visible on the horizon, a reef of rocks larger in area than Jersey, most of which are covered at high tide, and even Cap Fréhel on the French Coast 30 miles (48 kms) away to the south.

The fields on the hillsides are called côtils, used for growing Jersey Royal new potatoes, often planted in January. The Royal, a potato with an "Appellation Controleé", is Jersey's most important agricultural product, with a total annual harvest of some 35,000 tons. In this area there are some fine examples of 19th century houses on the hills overlooking St Aubin's Bay, built by wealthy merchants, and often owned today by millionaires who come to Jersey to enjoy the benefits of Jersey's taxation laws.

Rue du Craslin - Turn right at the bottom of the Les Grupieaux into Rue du Craslin and continue for half a mile (1 km) to the Cannon at the bottom of Old Beaumont Hill. This 16th century cannon is a relic of the Island's defences from the time of Edward VI.

Jersey Cows - Cross the road taking great care, and continue along La Ruelle és Ruaux (the lane of the little streams), past the dairy on the left. The Blanc Pignon herd is renowned for the quality of its animals, which graze in the fields behind. The Jersey cow was developed in the early part of the 19th century and has been one of the most successful animals in the world. An excellent milk-producer, with exceptional butterfat content, she is also very hardy and lives happily in most climates. There are about 6,000 head of cattle in the Island, but over seven million animals around the world.

Continue down the lane to the coast road, (notice La Retraite, the granite cottage with the 1727 date-stone over the door). Turn left at the main road and cross over at the slipway. Turn left along the sea front.

Round Towers - The coastal tower on the left is tower No 3 in St Aubin's Bay and dates from before 1794, one of 19 Round Towers remaining. Finish the walk a short distance past the Gunsite Café, at the Beaumont Perquage car park on the left.

Walk 5005 Route Map

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