Walk Distance: 24.27km
Walk Gain (ups and downs): 244.6m
Recommend Start/Finish Point: Discovery Bay car park
Jewel in the Crown: Val De La Mar Reservoir and Arboretum
Other Places of Interest: Le Noir Pré (Orchid Fields), St Peter's Valley, La Dimerie, La Hague Reservoir (optional route), St Matthieu RC Church, Airport.
Part One: Flower Power.
Le Noir Pre > Rue de La Val de la Mare > Reservoir North Walk and Arboretum
Leave the car park and cross the road opposite the National Trust Wetland Centre. Head north for 200 meters or so and you will find a path off to the right across the fields. This will lead you past several clumps of trees and eventually into the Le Noir Pre orchid fields . Between late spring and early summer the whole area is a blanket of wild flowers and it a delight to behold. If you are walking through in the other times of the year, it hopefully will still have interest and not just a boggy mess! As you wonder through the meadows head for the road on your left ( Chemin de L’Ouziere) a right turn will lead you into surrounding fields which unfortunately is just a loop back to the beginning, this is a shame as it would be an excellent route through to the road behind.
From Chemin de L’Ouziere you need to head up to the T-Junction and head south for about a kilometer along Rue de le Val de la Mare. Eventually you will come to the lower car park of Val de Le Mare Reservoir on your left. Head up the valley and the dam will loom up in front of you. Head up to the left side of this imposing structure and begin climbing the sweeping stairs to the top. The next part of the walk will provide you with a more challenging series of ups and downs, especially near the far end of the reservoir. All this toil will be rewarded however with stunning views back across the water and the coastal plain beyond. There are a few benches along the way if you want to sit and admire the view. The view of the reservoir is soon replaced with conifer trees and the path veers steeply downwards towards the Japanese Gardens and the amazing Arboretum. Not just an fantastic word, it offers visitors the chance to see species of trees not common to our shores and is worth a return trip. Whilst gazing at the unique vegetation, head left along the path and eventually you will arrive at the upper car park and the busy main road linking St Peter’s Village and St Ouen.
From the prior mentioned car park head for the small road between the entrance of the Amaizin’ Adventure Park and the granite Les Huriaux Farm. Head up this road and by the sheer number of trees arching above the route you will soon appreciate why it is named Verte Rue (Green road). After passing a series of houses on the left you will eventually arrive at a t-junction with La Rue de L’Elysee. Bear right here and then left on to La Rue De La Forge. This road will eventually lead on to La Rue de La Preterie and the busy main road of Les Chenolles. This road can be quite unnerving to the unseasoned rookie as there are no pavements and vehicles often appear quickly around the corners. Keep going past the windmill and head into St Mary’s village.... Yes I know this is supposed to be a walk around ST PETER but the border doesn’t play ball here and at the time of writing I couldn’t find a suitable alternative. Eventually you will walk past St Mary’s church (... just stop it I know I know!) . Opposite the pub turn right over the raised car breaker of a roundabout and down Rue de La Vallée. Mercifully there is a good walkway here lined with wooden posts marked the St Mary parish crest to further rub my nose in it . Soon you will come to a small cross roads and a large house on your right. Head toward this onto the narrow La Dimerie.
This part of the walk is one of my favorite bits as the road winds down into the valley and offers some wonderful views and the beauty was an unexpected surprise. As it is narrow not many cars pass through the area so you could spend a lot of time admiring the changing landscape. At the bottom of this road head left up the slight incline and across the main St Peter’s Valley main road and then it is decision time.... You can either head up the rather unremarkable Mont Remon, which technically is the correct way as the parish boundary runs up it. Or you can head right and take the longer loop walk through the beautiful La Hague Reservoir, up Mont de l’Ecole and then left onto Rue l’Aleval. This does add an additional 1.7km to the walk but I strongly recommend it if you are up for it. Whatever route you take you will eventually reach La Rue Bechervaise which runs past the perimeter of a quarry . Briefly turn right along La Rue des Aix and then left on to similarly named Rue Bechervaise (maybe the same road as earlier but they ran out of letters on the road signs). Keep heading up this road and eventually you will see the Roman Catholic Church of St Matthieu in front of you. Strangely enough you will become quite acquainted with this church as the parish boundaries of St Peter, St Mary and St Lawrence all run though this area or pretty closely anyway. When you reach the junction, you will want to head right onto Ville au Bas St and it will start to head down hill. After a while you will need to turn right again onto the road called Le Pissot (yes that is it’s name ) and eventually you will take a left onto the surprisingly wide main road of Route de l’Aleval. This will head quite steeply down back into St Peter’s Valley and the Queen Victoria pub will be on the right.
If you can avoid the temptation of a pint or three, keep heading down the main road for a short distance and you will see the cycle way first heading right then left into the trees and towards the iconic Le Moulin de Quétivel, always a good spot for a nosey and a few photos . From the mill head towards the holiday homes across the road (Le Mont Fallu) and there will be a pathway on the far side of the car park. This path leads through the woods again and eventually your will arrive at a second mill called Le Moulin de Tesson. This building looks quite different to Le Moulin de Quétivel but just as interesting (if you like that sort of thing). After the mill just keep walking on the road between the housing estate and Bel Royal Motors service depot and you will arrive in an area known as Sandybrook. Just left of the granite sign you will notice the start of the path heading towards the sea. For you local history buffs this is part of the Perquage Path leading down from St Lawrence parish church. These paths were created during the medieval times for criminals to discreetly leave the parish and head off away from the island for good. Hopefully you aren’t criminals so you can continue on the walk from the beach at Beaumont.
From the Perquage path head across the main road to the sea wall and bear right. Be careful crossing the marked cycle lane as cyclists often speed down here and as it is very narrow it would be hard for them to take evasive action if someone decides to walk across them. Head towards the Martello tower in the distance and the cafe on the left hand side. You will pass through a narrow gate and on towards the bright red building, which is a fancy restaurant I believe. Shortly after this there will be a slip way on your left and a way through to the main road on the right. Nip accross the main road and turn right onto La Ruelle des Reux. Here the road will run by several houses on the left and right and will begin to climb up hill to the flats on the skyline. Follow the route round to the right and take the left road up the steep Le Mont des Vignes. You will need to be careful here as other than being a pig to walk up, there are a couple of hairpin bends which can obscure you from the traffic traveling up and down. After what seems an eternity of plodding forever upwards, you will eventually reach the top of the hill and the crossroads on to la Route de Francief. Keep going along the road and you will join the faster road coming in from the left. Happily the trek on this road is a relatively short one as you will hang a right onto La Rue des Landes then the second left turn will lead you onto La Rue du Sant Falluet.
This road is a pleasant walk and once you are past another small crossroads, the surroundings change from open fields to a small wooded valley. The road then bends sharply to the right and up the hill towards the Mermaid Tavern and the Lakeside Care Home. When you see the airport buildings in front of you cross the road and head left onto the wide cycle way linking the airport with Les Quennevais Village. Pass by the Aviation Beauport hanger building and towards the freight depots. Here you will see a public footpath sign post pointing right. This road goes adjacent to the airport apron and you will see the path run by the Air Training Corps HQ and out onto Mont a La Brune. Keep heading down the road towards St Ouen’s Bay but keep an eye out for a small road leading off to the right - Mont Fondan. Technically this is off the border route somewhat but it offers a unique view of the airport runway and if you are lucky, aircraft pass right next to you or take off over your head.
The narrow road then descends steeply down and the breathtaking panorama of the St Ouen’s costal plain re-appears in front of you. Upon reaching the bottom of the hill, head towards the buildings on the left and rejoin Mont a La Brune and Chemin des Basses Mielles. The road will then widen and head straight for Le Braye. Journey along the entire length of the road and turn right onto the “Five Mile Road” (Grande Route des Mielles). This last bit can be quite a challenge as you may be prawn crackered by this point and the trek back to Discovery Bay and the finish may seem never ending. After going past El Tico and the Watersplash you will eventually reach your goal. If you ever deserved a pig out at the cafe this would be the time.