This walk features two of the listening posts from ArtHouse Jersey's Roaming Soundtrack.
Walk Distance: 19.4km
Walk Gain (ups and downs): 222m
Recommend Start/Finish Point: L'Etacq Fisheries
Crown Jewel: Les Landes de L'Est
Other Places of Interest: Le Pinacle, Battery Moltke, Grosnez Castle*, Plémont*, Grève de Lecq, Val De La Mare Reservoir
Part One: The North West Passage.
L’Etacq – Les Landes de L’Est – Plémont – Greve De Lecq
From the L'Etacq Fisheries car park turn left, head towards La Pulec (aka Stinky Bay) and start climbing the steep hill (Route des Harves). Join the footpath marked with the sign post and begin the steep climb up to the plateau of Les Landes de L'Est. Make sure to look back for amazing views over St Ouen's Bay (Good excuse to hide the breathlessness!) .
Les Landes de L'Est is a mosaic of pathways all offering varying amounts of physical exertion, for the most challenging but more visually rewarding route keep as close to the sea as possible. A flatter easier path is to the right. After passing the majestic La Pinnacle Rock and the forbidding german observation post, Grosnez Castle will come into view. This historic castle is the location of a ArtHouse Jersey Roaming Soundtrack listening post. If you have a mobile phone with you scan the QR code on the post (or visit their website , https://roamingsoundtrack.com/sam-lee-grosnez.html if you can't find it) and listen to the atmospheric song
Back to the walk, head on through the car park, continuing along the path for about a mile and Plémont will soon appear in front of you. Further along the route it will slowly descend and will eventually meet the steep single track road leading up from the beach. Good news!!! you don't have to go all the way down as the footpath to your next goal is directly opposite. However you may be seduced by ice cream and/ or bacon as the food at the cafe is rather yummy there are also amazing caves to explore during low tide. Also, this is the location of another ArtHouse Jersey Roaming Soundtrack listening post. This atmospheric piece is composed by Sarah Keirle to listen, scan the QR code on the post or visit https://roamingsoundtrack.com/sarah-keirle-plemont.html.
The next part of the walk has been transformed since the demolition of former Pontins Holiday Village as you can now cheat and nip over the top and head toward the building on the skyline. For the more hardcore you can follow the route from the top car park towards the old fort and the watch tower, then the cliff path hugs the perimeter of the former holiday village. From here keep walking the cliff path which becomes more “twisty and turny” and there also are several more ups and downs... joy! Eventually you will reach the top of Grand Becquet and the steps wind down to a narrow valley, across a steam and up the other side through woods past the Lecq Clay Target Club... You will probably hear it before you see it!! Eventually the path will turn to a hoggin path and then runs adjecent to a large farm house. The route then becomes a single track road, (Chemin de la Commune du Fief du Lecq) ... Say hello to the chickens as you walk by! When you see a T- junction in front of you, hang a left and begin the decent into Greve de Lecq. The tarmac road will turn into a dirt track and back to a tarmac road during the last steep descent. The Prince of Wales pub and the temptations of the beach are now on your left.
Part Two: The Woodland Wonder.
Greve de Lecq Woods > La Ville au Neveu > Catherine Best > Val De La Mare Eastern Carpark
From here take a right and start walking up the road, passing the car park and Martello tower on your left. Eventually you will pass a few houses and the pathway is on your left. This can be a bit tricky to find at first but once you are on the footpath you should be between a granite house and the hillside on your right. Keep walking through the woods, past the campfire circle behind the Moulin de Lecq whilst trying to keep sight of the main road leading up from the beach towards St Mary (Le Monte de Ste Marie). After a short time of navigating the pathways you will arrive to a clearing in the woods with a stream running through it. Cross it and take the left path which gradually winds up the hill and hopefully you will appear on a grass track and fields on your right. Eventually you will see a collection of houses in front of you and the grass turns to a cement road that leads up to and around the buildings. OK honesty time... I got lost a few times and managed to get to the top with a bit of blind luck. As long as you keep heading in an uphill direction you should be ok.
Turn left on the road named Rue de la Ville au Neveu. The road then leads past horse training fields, the printing business Lab-6 and then the rather picturesque road of La Rue Mahier. If you are walking in the summer months, you may be treated to a truly beautiful sight of wildflowers on the grass verges and surrounding properties, this can be an unexpected highlight of the walk…. If the flowers aren’t blooming you can tell you are on the right road by looking for a house with a red metallic roof. As you are walking up this road you will see a large granite house with whitewashed walls, you need to turn right here onto La Rue De Pont. Follow this road towards The Windmill Inn, keep going until the main road of Le Chemin de L’Eglise is in front of you…
This road is scary so be careful of the blind bends from both directions. Turn left along the busy thoroughfare and then escape right into the more secluded La Rue De La Pretaire which leads onto La Rue de la Forge. To avoid ploughing into a field and facing the wrath of a local farmer, turn right here along the La Rue de L’Elysee. After a short while you need to turn left into the very pretty Verte Rue. For the nerds like me, the parish border between St Ouen and St Peter goes directly down this road so walk on the right side if you really want to. Hopping down the middle of the road jumping over the border isn’t recommended as cars frequently use this road … as I found out the hard way. Eventually the aMaizin! Adventure Park appears on your left and the picturesque Les Huriaux Farm. Turn left and run the gauntlet of La Grande Route de Saint-Pierre for a few metres and head through the car park of Val De La Mare reservoir.
Part Three: Mare to Mer.
Val De La Mare Arboretum > Reservoir Walk (South) > St Ouen’s Bay > L’Etacq Fisheries.
The next part walk begins with the truly majestic arboretum. Even me who is not a tree connoisseur can appreciate the beauty of this trail and I did get trigger happy with the camera (photos on the St Peter's Peripheral walk page). After a gentle walk down hill the reservoir and the amazing vista of St Ouen’s Bay will come into a view. I challenge anyone not to stop to take in the breath taking views (… ok if it is cold and wet I will let you off!!) Eventually you will reach the dam and marvel how much water it is holding back and then head down to the valley floor, across the fields and through the bottom gate to the western car park.
Turn right here onto Rue De Val de La Mare and press on past the fields and houses and eventually you will reach a small cross roads. Head left towards the sea on Chemin de L’Ouziere and past the orchid fields also on your left. You may be tempted to have a walk through the orchid fields which is well worth it, the skill here is not to get too lost and get drawn to the temptation of the Discovery Bay Café… If you can resist the legendary Hot Chocolates (with cream I might add) you are a stronger person that I….. Eventually you will reach the Grand Route Des Mielles and the Christmas pudding-like structure of Kempt Tower. Here you can either walk along the sea wall and if you are in favour with Lord Poseidon, stroll across the beach towards the finish at L’Etacq Fisheries. If you are out of luck or hate sand, continue along the foot path towards the former Scout HQ at the Barge Aground past the collection of houses formally known as The Chateau Plasir, Lewis’ Tower and the slipway of La Saline.
The final stretch will lead past the Jersey Pearl (on the right) and eventually you will turn left on to a road called Rue Des Pres. Keep going and eventually you will run a slight right onto a narrow road called La Verte Rue (yes another one!). Press on and then turn right past a white house on to the main road called Roue de L’Etacq. From here it’s a short trip around the granite pointy rock (it does have a name but by this point I bet you wont care….) and to the car park where this walk began.