Cycling around Jersey: Part One
Going offshore for the weekend...
Visiting Jersey has been on my travel wish list for a long time and I used to look at the Condor sailings from Portsmouth to work out a plan of getting there using the limited time I have when I go down to visit my family. The night sailing works out fine, but the long day crossing or return catamaran to Poole takes too long to be practical.
When I saw that EasyJet had a sale on back in June, I knew that I had to go. I just hoped that the weather would be better than my soggy cycle tour around the Scilly Islands!
I booked my flight to Jersey with EasyJet back in June as part of an early summer promotion for only £35 return. The only downside was that I would be flying from Liverpool in mid-October and I would have to cycle to Manchester Oxford Road train station from Rochdale at 0530 to make the connecting train to Liverpool South Parkway in time for the mid-morning flight.
Flying from Liverpool to Jersey...
The 1-hour flight over to Jersey was full and a mix of people going on holiday, residents of the island heading home from the ‘mainland’ and a loud hen party sat in the seats to the front of me. My time on the island was only short as I was returning on the afternoon flight the next day and I had a full-on cycling itinerary pre-planned to ensure I made the most of my weekend there.
Jersey is a small island under British jurisdiction measuring just 9 miles across and 6 miles long and has long been a popular tourist destination for British and European holidaymakers. In fact, the island is much closer to France as the French coast is a mere 14 miles away.
England’s south coast is approximately 100 miles to the north and there is an evident blend of both cultures on the island from currency to road signs to architecture. Given the small geographical size of Jersey, it is an unlikely cycling destination, but in my opinion, the island is an excellent spot for leisure cycling.
Collecting my bike from Liberation Square...
After an airport transfer bus journey to reach the island’s main town of St. Helier just 4 miles away, I hired a bike from a local tourism company - Jersey Bus and Boat Tours located close to the historic Liberation Square and offer boat tours in addition to bicycle rental. I was pleased to see that the bike was a modern and well-maintained Raleigh Pioneer hybrid and would be ideal for covering many of the islands official and unofficial cycle routes.
I set off around 1330 and planned to explore the western half of the island on Saturday and then do a full loop of the island of Sunday before heading home in the evening. I had been reading up on the history of the island prior to my visit and decided that my main aim of the weekend was to visit all of the remaining German gun towers and defensive positions that formed part of Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’ stretching from Northern Spain to Norway.
The only part of Britain occupied by the Nazis...
In a propaganda coup for the Nazi regime, Jersey and the surrounding Islands were the only British territories occupied by Germany during World War II and life during the Occupation became progressively tougher.