A Circular Walk around Pembroke Bay and L’Ancresse Common

For such a small island, Guernsey has an incredible range of landscapes.  The north of Guernsey is relatively flat, with wide sandy bays and undulating grassy commons; a contrast to the rocky south coast just footsteps from our front door in St Martins.  This wonderful walk of the far northern tip of our island gives a great snapshot of the landscape and offers some stunning views.  Historical features along the route include Neolithic burial mounds on L’Ancresse Common, 18th Century Loophole Towers and forts, and coastal defences built during WWII and the German Occupation (part of Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall”).  The 18 hole golf course on L’Ancresse Common is now over 100 years old!    

  • Start and Finish:         Pembroke Bay car park
  • Distance:                    Approximately 6 miles
  • Time:                          About 2 hours (not allowing for breaks)
  • Terrain:                        Flat or mildly undulating grassy paths, coast path and some road/pavement.

From the car park above the beach at Pembroke Bay (next to the Beach House restaurant, reached by car or on bus routes 12, 91 or 92), head east along the path above the beach keeping the grassy common to your right (or take off your shoes and walk along the sand) towards Loophole Tower number 5 at L’Ancresse.  Follow the grassy path closest to the sea around the bay, past the small car park and the loophole tower, and north past the next two small bays and out to the tip of the headland at Fort Le Marchant.  Retrace your steps from Fort Le Marchant and keeping the coast on your left still, walk the path along the back of the beach towards the headland and Fort Doyle.  Round the north-easternmost tip of the island and bear south the short distance to Beaucette Marina.  From the top end of the marina follow the road leading back inland, which takes a left turn and passes a large pond before taking the first right turn.  Follow this road, heading straight over the crossroads on to Hautes Milles, and to the end of Bunker Hill back on to L’Ancresse Common.  

From here you are a short distance, straight ahead, from your starting point.  Instead, take one of the grassy tracks diagonally left across the common towards the southwest, past a small group of houses to a car park on Les Mielles Road.  Follow the paths along the common, and the edge of the golf course, to the crossroads.  Turn left down L’Ancresse Road walking across the common land and golf course on the right side of the road.  Cut the corner, across the common, to join the lane to Ammareurs Harbour.  There is a seasonal kiosk in the car park here.   Turn right and head north along the path behind the beach until you meet Mont Cuet Road.  Keep turning left along the paths so that you walk around the headland with the sea on your left, past the Mont Cuet household waste recycling centre on the northern edge, to Loophole Tower no.9 overlooking the tiny north-facing Jaonneuse Bay, and follow the path out to Fort Pembroke.  Follow the path back down to the beach at Pembroke Bay, and along to the car park.  Kick your shoes off, walk across the beach and cool your feet in the shallows, then make your way back to the Bella for a “restorative” Wheadon’s and tonic in the courtyard garden.


Written by:

Bella Luce