Jersey Spring Walking Week 14th – 21st May 2011
Savour Island life, stroll along the seaside, through woodland, country lanes and cliff top paths, all in the company of the Island’s most respected and experienced walking guides, and all free of charge.
Both Spring and Autumn Walking Weeks have been organised by Jersey Tourism for the last 10 years, with all walks featured in the programme being free of charge. The Walking Week offers almost 40 walks to choose from with over 1000 participants usually take part in both the Spring and Autumn Walking Weeks.
Arthur Lamy looks back at last years walking festival. Arthur is a freelance writer and Blue Badge guide. www.walkinjersey.com
Forget the autumn leaves, the sharpness in the air, just look out for the walkers. In Jersey, in the Channel Islands, that’s the best way to tell if September is here. They are hard to miss, as around a thousand walkers take part in a week-long festival that offers over forty different walks.
Now in its eighteenth edition, the success of the island’s two annual walking festivals is well proven, and one in three visitors comes to Jersey especially to walk. Given the rise in popularity of walking, and the fact that today’s walkers are generally looking for scenic rather than testing terrain, the island comes into its own. Although small, only nine miles by five, there is a huge range of walking routes. Long flat sandy beaches, miles of cliff paths and lush valleys are all within – dare I say it – walking distance. Couple this with a wide choice of accommodation, and a range of cafes and restaurants that will tempt just about everyone, and you’ve found walking heaven.
For my part, the spring and autumn walking festivals are two of the busiest, and most rewarding, weeks of the year. During the eight days the event takes place, I might lead a three mile stroll taking in some of St.Helier’s many sculptures, a short walk around the19th century fishing village of Gorey, or a two day, coast to coast ramble through the heart of the countryside. Over the nine years that the Walking Weeks have been running, I’ve been lucky enough to guide over 3,000 people, many returning every year, either to take part in the festival again or to enjoy the island on their own.
One walk that I’ve taken, a week-long odyssey around Jersey’s dramatic coastline, has seen the number of ‘all week’ participants rise from six in the very first Walking Week to an amazing fifty four. One walker has even done ten full weeks, and numerous others have walked the full distance five times or more. It’s rather like leading a walking club that meets twice a year, and one that has the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet!
I’ve been a tourist guide for over sixteen years, and I find it a very enjoyable way to earn a living. Every day I see a different group of people, all of them delighted to be here, and eager to find out about Jersey. As a typical islander – my grandfather came to dig those delicious Jersey Royals in the 1890s – I’ve a lifelong relationship with the place, one that has only got stronger with time and the knowledge that I’ve accumulated during my tourist guiding career.
As a place to visit for those who want to do more than lie on the beach, Jersey has a lot to offer beyond its natural beauty. Here is an island, 14 miles off the coast of mainland France, yet a part of the British Isles. An island occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War and today a major international finance centre. Combine all that with Jersey’s mouth-watering seafood, potatoes, and dairy products, and well-known island icons like Lillie Langtry and Harry Vardon, and you’ve got a destination for serious enjoyment.
Take a look at this year’s walking festival programme
Can it get any better? Yes it can – Rohan New store in Jersey