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Walk 5011 - printer friendly version

Visit to Lihou Island Walk

Author - Tim Maclure

Length - 2.0 miles / 3.3 km

Ascent - 0 feet / 0 metres

Grade - easy

Although the walk around Lihou Island is very short it is interesting, and it is popular with locals and visitors alike. The island has been under the management of the States of Guernsey since 1995 when it was purchased from the British Crown. Pedestrian access is only restricted by the opening times of the ancient tidal causeway.

Lihou Island, surrounding islets, rocks, inter-tidal area and certain adjacent land on the mainland of Guernsey, which together amount to 426 hectares, is a conservation area. It has recently been designated a wetland site under the Ramsar Convention elevating its status to international importance.

The walk begins and ends at the car park at L'Erée headland (Perry's Guide: 12 5A). Route finding should present no difficulty. Strong footwear is recommended for crossing the causeway, which will be wet from the falling tide. Make a careful note of the access times. This information is published in the Guernsey Press, or can be found on the internet. Please note that you are asked not to take dogs on to Lihou.

Follow the causeway, which is approximately 750 metres long, across to Lihou Island. The rock pools on either side of the way contain abundant and diverse marine flora and fauna; including the ormer, which is of great local cultural significance.

Once on the island visitors are free to roam, but they are asked to keep off Lissroy peninsula and Lihoumel during the nesting season (1st January to 15th July). These areas are roped-off and clearly sign posted and are best 'left to the birds' at all times.

Botanists will find a wide diversity of plants on the island. Some rarities have been recorded.

Take the path to the left of the house to go around the island in a clockwise direction. Remains of the Priory of St Mary are soon reached. It is thought to have been founded by monks from Mont St Michel, the great Abbey in Normandy, probably as early as 1114 AD. A number of modern archaeological excavations have been undertaken, and there have been some important discoveries.

A little further on the route arrives at the most western point of Lihou, which is also the most western point of the 'inhabited' Channel Islands. From there the two islets of Lihoumel can be seen offshore. This area often provides the first land fall for migrating birds. Lihou Island has a variety of habitats, and one hundred and twenty-seven species of birds have been recorded. It is an important nesting site for a number of sea birds.

A few metres further along the path visitors can clamber down the rocky shore to swim in a deep natural rock pool known as the 'Venus Pool'. The walk continues around the north of the island, where the land slopes more gently down to the sea. A secluded spot, off the track, may be found here for a picnic.

All too soon the path arrives back at the house. Leave plenty of time to return across the causeway as atmospheric pressure and other weather conditions can affect predicted sea levels, and the incoming tide can rise very quickly over the flat terrain.

Walk 5011 Route Map

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