Postcard from Jersey

Middle Earth Barbie, Going Postal

This postcard is rather belated as I returned from Jersey in late August and we are now in late September. Many on here know the island better than I do, so I wanted to share with you some of my favourite haunts which I visit year after year.

I first travelled to Jersey in 2011 on the recommendation of my mother. I had not had a holiday since 2009 when I travelled to Rome. I had no spare cash for two years as I waded through my divorce and then all of the ups and downs with the sale of my former marital flat. Once that had been finalised in the Spring of 2011, I took my mother’s advice and booked a hotel in Jersey.

The thing that struck me most was how beautiful, but small, the island was. The beaches were beautiful, it was warm and on a clear, sunny day, you could think you were in the South of France. I also liked the mix of beach and countryside which made for lovely and interesting walking.

Once of the places I first visited when I went to Jersey, and keep going back to year on year, is Samares Manor. The name Samarès is an old French word meaning salt-marsh, and much of the low-lying surrounding areas are or were coastal marshes.

Samarès Manor has medieval origins in the Vingtaine de Samarès, in the parish of St. Clement in Jersey, and is the traditional home of the Seigneur de Samarès. The Obbard family still reside in part of the manor house, the rest is open to the public with tours around the manor twice a day. I did the tour last year and found it very interesting.

The Botanic Gardens are privately owned by Seigneur de Samarès, Vincent Obbard. They are a development of gardens created in the 1920s by Sir James Knott, born on the 31st January 1855 at Howdon on Tyne. James Knott set up the Prince Line Ltd in 1895. It became the third largest shipping line in the world with 45 ships, many of them built in Tyne and Wear shipyards, primarily by Short Bros.

Middle Earth Barbie, Going PostalJames Knott also owned coal mines, became a ship’s master, studied law, was called to the Bar in 1889 and in 1910 served for a short time as MP for Sunderland. He purchased Samares Manor in 1924. He also lost two sons in the First World War, one at the Somme and the other at Ypres. He never got over their loss.

The gardens are diverse in style, extensive, tranquil and peaceful including a renowned herb garden and Japanese garden.  They have a lovely kitchen garden with a beehive, a rather grand “boat” frame on which grow apples and bowers with sweet peas or fruit growing downward.

They also have a beautiful rose garden with many varieties on display and a herb garden. There is a tour of the herb garden area once a day by one of the senior gardening staff and it was very interesting.

The Japanese garden has a lovely cascading water feature that flows into a small lake with Koi Carp in it. There is also a lake near to the house with ducks and geese.

The refurbished dovecote is a lovely feature and, at the far end of the lawn there, is where the dogs belonging to the family are buried (complete with little headstones).

Middle Earth Barbie, Going Postal

They have a rather nice café there which serves a delicious selection of cakes. I usually plump for the coffee and walnut cake and a cup of coffee before I start out towards the Japanese garden.


Greve De Lecq

Greve De Lecq is one of my favourite beach areas. The beach isn’t huge but it has that cosy feel and the area around it has a sea wall and a couple of shops/cafes. You can sit on the top of the sea wall and watch the little fishing boats coming in and out of the small slipway below. You also have a clear view of Guernsey on a good day and, as someone pointed out to me a few years back, dolphins have been seen frolicking in the sea. I have yet to see any but I live in hope.

Situated on an incline near the main bus stop area is Greve De Lecq Barracks which is owned by the National Trust.

Middle Earth Barbie, Going Postal

In 1779 it became apparent that the French were making plans to invade Jersey. When half of their expeditionary force landed at Grève de Lecq, measures were immediately put in place to defend the bay.

The defences at Grève de Lecq reached their peak in the early 19th Century in direct response to a potential invasion by Napoleon. As a result the bay was further protected by Le Câtel Fort and Battery, Middle Battery, Valle du Fort Battery and a Round Tower. Manning these substantial defences required many troops and subsequently the construction of Grève de Lecq Barracks began in 1810. The Barracks was designed to accommodate up to 250 garrison troops stationed in the Island and it formed an integral part of the Island’s defence strategy for the north coast.

Grève de Lecq Barracks comprises two blocks for soldiers, each consisting of four barrack rooms, and two small rooms for non-commissioned officers. Surrounding the site are a number of minor service buildings including a coal store, stabling, ablutions block and two prison cells for soldiers who had become drunk or unruly.

It is always worth a visit and, being very un-knowledgeable about military history, I learnt a lot.

Well Puffins,that is my first postcard ever. I hope you enjoyed it and it isn’t too long. I love Jersey and have been almost every year (apart from 2013) since 2011. I stay in a different hotel now from the original one I booked in 2011 as I found it quite unfriendly and the staff were quite brusque, especially at breakfast and couldn’t wait to get rid of you asap. The hotel I have been going to since 2014 is lovely and I have already booked for my holiday in 2019.

© Middle Earth Barbie 2018

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