Le Col de la Rocque Coastal Walk
This fantastic circular walk exhibits some of Jersey’s finest qualities, from fabulous flora to picturesque coastal views and beautiful islets. This walk, which starts at Greve de Lecq Barracks, is unmissable for nature lovers seeking a peaceful break and wonderful views.
1) From the Barracks walk up Le Chemin du Câtel. You will soon come across a track on the left leading towards Le Câtel Fort. Le Câtel Fort was built as the bay’s main protection from a perceived invasion from France. The brow of the hill is dominated by a very large earth mound known as the Castel de Lecq which probably dates from the late Iron Age.
2) Continue along Le Chemin du Câtel until you pass the Crabbé rifle range. Take the first left immediately after into a signposted track leading towards a promontory called L’Âne. From this point you have fantastic views of France, the other Channel Islands, and the Paternosters, an outcrop of rocks and the site of numerous shipwrecks.
The granite cliffs along this stretch have numerous caves, wave cut platforms, crevices and rocky outcrops which together create an ideal habitat for coastal seabirds like the Fulmer, Shag, Herring Gull and Oystercatcher. The flora in this area, typical of temperate maritime heathland vegetation, includes Ling, Bell Heather and Stunted Blackthorn.
3) Continue heading eastward. You will see the edges of the path are blooming with a variety of rich flora with an abundance of Red Campion, Sheep’s-bit Scabious and Wild Daffodil. This floral diversity is a magnet for insects such as bees, butterflies or dragonflies.
You will soon see below a beautiful cove with crystal clear waters, surrounding a small islet known as L’Île Agois, where remains of ancient stone-built huts have been found.
4) Next, cross a small stream, pass under a Hawthorn archway, and head up a flight of steep steps. You will then reach a junction. The right track cuts the walk short and leads back to Grève de Lecq via La Rue des Touettes, while the left track will take you in the direction of Devil’s Hole. Taking the left path you will soon come across a long tunnel of blackthorn leading to Le Col de la Rocque Headland.
This is perhaps the finest viewpoint anywhere on the Island, enabling you to gaze as far as Sorel Point in the east and Plémont in the west. It is also a fantastic birdwatching spot where, with luck, you may see the rare Peregrine Falcon hunting over the cliffs.
5) Continue along the coastal path and head down the steps which will take you into a sheltered valley. After passing a pond on your left you will come to a junction with the right path again enabling you to return to Gréve de Lecq. If you choose the left track, after a few hundred metres cross some grass fields and join a rough track leading down to Devil’s Hole.
Along the way you will notice many hardy salt-resistant trees that have managed to get a foothold along the valley, such as the Holm Oaks. If you are a little tired from walking consider stopping off at the Priory Inn, which will provide you with welcome refreshment.
6) Leaving the pub car park and take a right turn into La Grand Rue. After 50m turn right again into La Rue du Camp Durell and follow this lane as it dog-legs to the left away from the coast and into the heart of St Mary’s countryside.
At the end of the lane is La Mare Wine Estate, here turn immediately right into La Rue de la Hougue. This road will lead you into La Rue des Touttes and back to Gréve de Lecq Barracks car park.
Grève de Lecq Barracks. shorter walks can be completed starting from Devil’s Hole or La Mare Wine Estate.
Parking at Grève de Lecq Barracks
9 for Grève de Lecq Barracks, 7 for Devil’s Hole and 28 for La Mare Wine Estate.
This walk has been attributed a medium difficulty rating, although it is steep in places and caution should be taken.
2-3 hours, although shorter loops can be walked back to Grève de Lecq.