ST JOHN JOURNEY
FREMONT - LA CRÊTE FORT - SION - SOREL POINT
This walk features one of the listening posts from ArtHouse Jersey's Roaming Soundtrack.
Walk Distance: 20.69km
Walk Gain (ups and downs): 269m
Recommend Start/Finish Point: Les Fontaines car park.
Jewel in the Crown: Fremont Point.
Other Places of Interest: Bonne Nuit Bay, La Crete Fort, Mourier Valley, Sorel Point.
Part One: The Hilly Highroad.
Fremont > Bonne Nuit > La Crete Fort > Les Platons
This walk begins in the large car park opposite Les Fontaines pub; turn left and head along the wide main road of La Route du Nord. After a few meanders you will be able to cut left onto a marked mud path, which is an interesting short stroll through some woodland and out onto a grass field that offers amazing views over the sea towards the French coast, you will eventually meet the main road again. Before heading off, take a quick look to the right for the Millennium Cross (you may need a quick back track along the main road), this is the location of a ArtHouse Jersey Roaming Soundtrack Listening Post. Scan the QR Code with your phone (or visit the webpage https://roamingsoundtrack.com/nitin-sawhney-route-du-nord.html ) to listen to "The Unnoticed Void" by Nitin Sawhney.
Continuing with the walk, head back towards the TV transmitter and look for a granite sign marked "La Saline", turn left and the route slopes steeply downwards heading towards the sea and goes round to the right. You will be then presented with your first climb of the day as you ascend the steps up the cliff path towards the 139 metre high Fremont Point transmitting station. I must admit this climb is quite challenging but well worth it as you reach the top and stride across the paths towards the stunning vista of Bonne Nuit Bay.
Descend down the flights of steps which is much easier the climbing them, indeed this hill is the last of what I call the three pigs of the north coast. The path is eventually met by the main road, Les Charrières de Bonne Nuit. From here, continue downhill towards the bay and the road swings rounds and starts to head back up hill. Stroll up here until you see a road to the left leading down to Cheval Roc Residential and Nursing Home, take this route around the back of the home and the paved road changes to a footpath which leads to La Crête Fort.... and now the real challenge begins. As you round the corner you will see Jersey’s highest point, the headland of Les Platons and yes you need to get to the top. The narrow path eventually widens, keep to the right and begin what I called the stair of despair. OK I might be being over dramatic but I hated this bit as it seemed to go on forever but when you do reach the top and look back over Giffard Bay, I challenge you not to feel a sense of achievement .... Feel free to reward yourself at the cafe if you want, you deserve it!
Part Two: Journey to the Centre of the Isle.
Les Platons > Les Hautes Croix > Sion > Handois > St John's Manor
From the car park turn right then left onto the rather feline sounding La Rue du Béchet des Chats. Be careful here as cars come down here very quickly and often take you by surprise. You will now arrive onto the main road linking St John to St Helier, La Grande Route de Saint-Jean. To the untrained eye this can be a rather uninspiring 2 1/2 km trek down to Sion but take time to look at your surroundings and you will see collections of traditional houses and uninterrupted views across farmlands and grassy fields.
You will now be in the village of Sion and as it’s name suggests in the middle of the island, you will go by the Methodist Church on the right and eventually you will see Ruette Pinel and a signpost pointing to Surville Cemetery. Take this road and you will come across a series of allotments and the cemetery will come into view. The route then descends into a rather charming valley and some picturesque houses on the right, eventually the road snakes up the hill and meets the La Route du Mont Cochon. Turn right on this road and after about ½ a k you will pass the home ground of Rozel Rovers (Le Couvent) and you will also see the Carrefour Pétanque Club on your left on your onward journey north.
After another kilometre you will reach a t-junction, here you need to turn left onto Le Huquet. This road runs down into Handois Valley; a surprisingly busy thoroughfare as it leads towards a number of warehouses and The Fencing Centre. You will eventually meet the main road leading up from St Lawrence (the clue is in the name ... La Grande Route de Saint Laurent), luckily you don’t have to be on this for long as you will head up past the humongous gates of St John’s Manor.
Part Three: Wood, Water and Stone
St John's Manor > Tombette > Mourier Valley > Sorel > Les Fontaines
Tip toe along the narrow grass verge until you can escape left into Le Neuf Chemin. This tree lined road goes behind the estate of the manor, be sure not to be alarmed by the strange looking .... I don’t know what it is .. figure peering out from the perimeter wall. Continue along this road and it will become La Rue de Bel Air, ignore the first right turn (La Rue des Landes) and keep going past a large house on the right and you will see a large field also on you right with a house in the distance. The next turn right is onto the unmarked road called Eden Lane. This road is often very busy as it is one of the main links between St John and St Mary and the t junction at the top is quite nasty as cars may not be able to see you until the last moment. Bear right onto the La Verte Rue and after a short distance turn left onto La Rue es Abbés. This lane runs by some large farm buildings on the right and leads onto La Rue d’Olive. Hang a left here and continue along the road until you reach the cross roads with La Rue de La Grosse Épine and the road we will be taking, La Rue de Maupertuis.
You now slowly descend into woodland and a stream appears alongside the right hand side of the road. This marks the beginning of the Mourier Valley and is a truly beautiful part of the walk. Take time to take in the gorgeous surroundings and head left onto Le Chemin des Hougues when you reach the valley bottom. You will see a series of secluded houses as you head down towards the sea. It is time to join the reservoir walk, the start of which is on the right, opposite a lamppost and before the road begins it's steep climb up the hill. The gravel track passes through the woods and eventually opens out onto the reservoir and the amazing views towards the headland of Les Landes de L’Est. Once through the kissing gate past the dam, head right under a tree (a favourite hang out for resident sheep) . The path climbs upwards towards the skyline which reveals the whole valley in its full glory. The next section hugs the coast line and is the last major challenge of the walk. Take time to stop here to catch your breath and enjoy the panorama across the rolling cliff line and the prominent landmark of Sorel Point. Eventually you will reach a gate and then a car park. Feel free to take a stroll down to the small lighthouse but it’s a one road trip there and back. Ultimately, you need to head up the road past the motor cross track and turn left back onto La Route du Nord. Then it’s a short trek along this final stretch of road, going by Rosnez quarry. You will now arrive back at the Les Fontaines car park which marks the end of your St John Journey.