Global Programs
May 2017 Field ​Study
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Jersey (Channel Islands) map and flag

Facilitating Trade

Student Blogger:
3L Steven Traeger (front row, center)
Jersey students

​Jersey's North Shore

J4-16-Plemont-May-20Jersey's North Shore

During my time in Jersey I discovered the best way to really mix into the culture and get a feel for the island is by taking advantage of the endless number of walking and hiking opportunities across the tiny country. From hikes along the north shore where you can see the other Channel Islands as you wander across creeks and along cliffs, to walks along the green lanes of the interior of the island, Jersey has so much to offer someone eager to don their walking shoes.

I stumbled across the joy of these walks in an odd way. The first couple of days on the island I started to notice that absolutely everything had puffins (a colorful bird) on it. There were plates and coffee cups with puffins on them, advertisements with puffins, puffin books, and even puffin pillows. One day I swear I saw an airplane flying overhead with a puffin painted on its tail.

Curiosity drew me to my computer that evening where, through a good amount of research, I discovered that the puffins nested only along the north shore of the island (completely across the island from where we were) in burrows dug into the cliffs. There is just a small three or four mile stretch where they live starting at a point called Plemont and running to the east. After discovering this, I developed a strong desire to see a puffin in person.

I devised a plan to persuade the group that we needed to go for a hike somewhere to see the countryside -- I had no idea that it would become one of the most enjoyable days on the island. I gathered everyone together with a promise of a puffin sighting and we went to the bus station. Although I had made no arrangements, we found a bus route that dead-ended at Plemont and set off.

As the bus sped across the countryside the scenery became more and more rural until we were surrounded only by small farms and cottages. Hedgerows separated the fields from the narrow lanes and at times it felt as if the bus was wider than the entire road, as only inches separated our window from the hedges and trees.

After about 45 minutes the bus driver motioned to us that we were at our destination and as we walked off the bus, the sea breeze whipped up and took us by surprise. Although the bus stop itself was unassuming, it only took a few paces walking into the breeze for us to discover what must be the most beautiful view in Jersey. Cliffs to our left and right that just dropped straight into the sea. In front of us was a path that led straight down to a little café perched atop rocks where giant waves were crashing. It truly was breathtaking and neither words or pictures can do the site justice.

The rest of the day was full of similar surprises. We found a path that led up the cliffs and discovered that it was a coastal path that led for miles alongside the cliffs. As we hiked down it we stumbled across remains of Nazi fortifications, idyllic streams and even pastures.

The most amazing part was looking across the turquoise water and seeing other islands in the distance. From certain points we could see Guernsey, Herm, Saark and France all at once.

The walk concluded at a beach that could best be described as something taken from a ​Pacific island and planted in Northern Europe. It had orange sand with dark volcanic-looking rock dotted throughout it. It was a cove, shaped in a curve, and had crystal clear blue water crashing against it. Although the water was cold it was a sunny day and lots of locals were soaking it up.

Alas we did not find any puffins but we found a piece of paradise. After a long hike, I felt I deserved a snack and instead of opting for one of the quaint restaurants perched into the hillside above the beach I found a little burger van and got a hot dog and Coca Cola. The final great surprise of the day was stumbling across a bus station at the top of the hill as a bus pulled up. The buses only ran out to that beach every hour and we had effectively timed it perfectly.

We went on a quest to find puffins but we discovered Jersey. Seeing farms, pastures, narrow lanes, creeks and coastlines, we got out of the capital city and got a small taste of the culture. It was a truly great day.

The following day I stumbled across a small book put out by the government of Jersey that was a collection of “Parish walks.” Parishes are like counties and Jersey has 12 of them. In the book, there is a “walk” for each one of them. Throughout the rest of the trip I took some of the walks and had similar experiences as we did in the group trip to Plemont.

I really think these walks brought me closer to the culture and island than anything else I did on the trip. Museums are great way to learn about the past, but honestly you can read about the history of the island when you get home. Great local restaurants give you a literal taste of the country but leave your wallet a little lighter and can only offer so much.

To really get out and discover a place like Jersey I think a walk is the way to go.

There is nothing like a couple of hours in the fresh air using all your senses to take in the country and culture around you.

j4-sign-May20​Enjoying a "Parish walk"
J4-17-North-coast​The whole North coastline of Jersey provides amazing views and a great hike
J4-15-Plemont-May-20​Amazing landscape around Plemont
J4-waves-May-20​Sun, rocks, wind, and waves; but alas, no puffins
J4-cliffpath-May20​Following the cliff path
J4-18-rural-May-20​Outside of St. Helier, the island is much more rural but no less beautiful
j4-house-May-20​The beauty of rural Jersey
More views of ​the Jersey countryside