Les Mielles Circular Walk
Wildlife and wild places greet you at every turn on this short but exhilarating circular walk from La Mare au Seigneur through La Mielle de Morville nature reserve to Les Monts Grantez. The walk offers a gentle tour through wooded valleys with spectacular views of St Ouen’s Bay.
1) Starting at La Mare au Seigneur head north briefly along the road.
La Mare au Seigneur, also known locally as St Ouen’s Pond, is the largest body of fresh water in the Channel Islands. From The Wetland Centre enjoy sightings of waterfowl and, during the early summer, the songs of Cetti’s and Reed Warblers.
2) Turn inland towards a row of sallow trees then join the pathway adjacent to Le Noir Pré.
Le Noir Pré is a wild orchid field best visited in late May and June and is home to at least four orchid species, including the iconic Jersey orchid.
3) Cross Le Chemin de L’Ouzière and pass through an open cut grass field into the scrubland of La Mielle de Morville. Several footpaths head north to the Frances Le Sueur Centre.
The Frances Le Sueur Centre is the previous home of the States of Jersey rangers and is now the office of the Jersey branch of Trees for Life.
4) Behind the Centre, take the footpath north along the grassy track until you are within sight of the wooden Scout Headquarters. A sharp right turn here leads you to Le Chemin de Moulin. Continue left and north along this narrow road until you reach a footpath sign on the right. Now encountering the first climb, you can either use the steep tree-lined track known as Le Val ès Reux or take the bridle track, both tracks lead to a wooden stile.
Le Val es Reux is sometimes affectionately renamed by enthusiasts ‘butterfly alley’ as their number are so profuse during spells of hot summer weather. If you choose the bridle track take 5 minutes to stop off at the viewing area at the National Trust’s splendid La Grande Thiébault.
5) After a quick hop over the stile another choice of track is on offer. The pathway immediately to the right of the stile leads to the dramatic high ground looking towards L’Etacq, and continuing along the track presents you with fantastic views of St Ouen’s Bay.
Although more distinct on the pathway to your right, both tracks offer brilliant views of the remnants of scores of Scots pine that are a reminder of the thousands of trees that were uprooted during the ‘great storm’ of October 1987.
6) Alternatively, by crossing the bracken-dominated field, you will reach the Dolmen des Monts at Grantez.
This impressive Neolithic passage grave dates back some 5,000 years and remained virtually undisturbed until it was investigated by archaeologists from the Societe Jersiaise in 1912. These excavations revealed no fewer than eight human skeletons plus a quantity of limpet shells and animal bones.
7) From the dolmen, take the right-hand track through a low wall and turn sharp right into Chemin du Monts. Proceed along the narrow lane until you reach a row of working glasshouses, opposite which a footpath sign directs you into a hedged grass track going downhill into Les Hannières valley.
This delightful ‘hidden’ valley has a mixture of low growing trees and bushes including Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Sweet Chestnut. Listen for the birdsong of the Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Blackcap and Willow Warbler.
8) After reaching a small woodland and a rustic bridge, continue the path up the hillside.
From here you will see splendid sea views and enjoy glimpses of birds of prey such as the magnificent Kestrel and the rare Marsh Harrier.
9) Reaching the end of the track, you can take either take the right-hand bridle path leading down to the bay or, should you have more time and wish to enjoy a prettier exit, take the track ahead – La Rue de la Ville au Bas. At the end of this lane you will see a large farmhouse on the left of which is a footpath sign taking you down another very pretty wooded pathway.
This charming track is a magnet for many species of butterflies during the fine weather.
10) Upon exiting the path, you will be back on Le Chemin du Moulin, from which the waymakers will lead you into the grassland of La Mielle de Morville, and then finally back to the walk's starting point.
The Wetland Centre opposite Big Vern’s car park.
Free parking is available at L’Ouzière slip and Big Vern’s car park opposite The Wetland Centre.
12 or 22
This walk has been attributed an easy to moderate rating.
Allow 2.5 hours for this 3.5 mile circular walk.