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Walk 5010 - printer friendly version

Petit Bot Bay to Pleinmont Walk

Author - Tim Maclure

Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km

Ascent - 700 feet / 212 metres

Grade - easy/mod

Dramatic cliffs drop down to the sea along the whole of the route from Petit Bôt Bay to Pleinmont. Following on from walk 5009 ‘St Peter Port to Petit Bôt 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.

There are a small number of parking spaces at Petit Bot Bay (Perry's Guide 29 F4). Further parking is allowed along La Rue des Pages. Commence the walk by leaving Petit Bot in a westerly direction climbing the steep steps sign posted Portelet and Le Gouffre. At the top of the steps take the right turn and climb further steps to a look out over the bay. Continue to ascend following the sign for Le Gouffre.

Less than a kilometre from Petit Bôt Bay the small headland of Pointe de la Moye comes into view. Note the rails of the steep slipway used when winching small boats onto the rock platform above the high water mark. The track soon curves inland. Look out for the cliff path sign and take the left turn into the woods. At the T-junction turn left. When you arrive above Pointe de la Moye continue straight on towards the granite wall. The left turn leads down to the moorings. Beyond the granite wall the path widens and soon heads inland following the contours of the deep valley at Le Gouffre.

Where the track meets the metalled lane take the path to the side of the restaurant following the sign for Pleinmont. Continue straight on ignoring the left turn for Les Herbeuses, which leads to a view point only. Approximately 500 metres further on the footpath ends at a driveway of a house built against the cliff below. Keep left on the lane.

Soon the route arrives above a unique architecturally designed residence known locally as The Snail House (actually L'Escargot). At the lane keep left, and a few metres further on turn left down an un-metalled lane with vehicle access for residents only. The footpath sign indicates La Corbiàre. Pass the entrance to The Snail House and rejoin the footpath. A hundred metres further on take the unmarked left fork. In another hundred metres keep left, then continue ahead ignoring turnings to the right and left. The path soon emerges at a small car parking area. Cross this to a sign indicating Prevote and Pleinmont Pt and rejoin the path. Drop down to pass a German bunker on the left, which is overgrown but still accessible. A little further on take the path to the right, which drops down into a valley and climbs up the other side. Continue along the cliffs to a prominent German observation tower built on the site of La Prevôté Watch House.

From the small parking area below the tower take the lane inland for a few metres to rejoin the path on the left; sign posted Pleinmont Pt. This path takes an undulating route along the cliffs, and a little more than a kilometre further on drops down and passes the outfall of a waste water treatment plant. The path climbs up beyond this point and a right turn is taken at the top; continuing straight on would lead to a view point only. Soon a wire fence is reached on the left protecting pedestrians from some of the most precipitous cliffs in Guernsey. Hottentot Fig, a native of South Africa that has naturalised, can be seen growing here on both the right and left side of the path. Continue along the top of the cliffs. Over the fields, to the right, the spire of Torteval Parish Church can be seen.

After approximately one kilometre the path ends at a track leading to Mont Hérault Watch House. Turn left, after a few metres the track joins a metalled lane. Looking ahead there is a fine view over Pleinmont. In this area traditional Guernsey farming is still carried on. Note the earth walls dividing the fields; each of which would originally have been in separate ownership. Bear left, very soon the lane becomes an un-metalled track. Where the track curves round to the right continue straight rejoining the cliff footpath.

The impressive structure directly ahead at L'Angle is one of a series of towers built by the German Navy called Marinepeilstanden und Messtellaen ( "MP"), which were direction and range-finding positions. Each observation level provided information for a separate artillery battery to engage targets at sea. A short distance along the path a car parking area is reached, adjacent to which is a German Naval Command Post that has two underground levels.

From the car park Hanois Lighthouse can be seen standing on rocks one and a half nautical miles to the west of Pleinmont Point. This tower, which was completed in 1862, is 33 metres high. Its light warns shipping of the approach to the Channel Islands and also the start of the traffic separation system in the English Channel. The helipad above the light was added in 1979. It was de-manned in 1996, and the solar panels below the light were added later that year. Hanois Lighthouse is now controlled from the Trinity House Operations Control Centre at Harwich.

Cross the car park to rejoin the cliff path. A few metres further on, to the right there is a restored artillery emplacement. Just after this the remains of the Pleinmont Watch House, mentioned by Victor Hugo in his classic book The Toilers of the Sea, can be seen. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in the war as it was in the way of the guns.

Follow the path into Pleinmont nature reserve. The aerial of a BBC relay station can be seen on the right. Continue along the cliff top path. Soon, Naval Direction and Range-finding Tower MP3 clearly comes into view. This structure has recently been restored and is open to the public at specific times for a small charge (check with the Occupation Museum).

At Pleinmont Point the path curves to the right. Climb up to another car parking area. Cross this to rejoin the cliff path. A few metres further on take the left turn for Portelet and Bus Terminus. Drop down, passing the small stone circle known as Table des Pions, to the pedestrianised lane. Turn right and follow the lane along the coast. Enjoy the fine views across Rocquaine Bay to Lihou Island. Note the coastal defence fort on the left of the lane, and further along Trinity House Cottages on the right.

Where the lane meets the main road (Perry's Guide 32 D2) buses may be boarded at the terminus adjacent to the Imperial Hotel for the Forest Stores (Perry's Guide 29 E2), from where it is a short walk down to the start at Petit Bôt Bay.

Walk 5010 Route Map

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