Just the name that locals give Guernsey’s tree-lined and peaceful lanes makes them sound idyllic. They’re called ruette tranquilles. And if you want to relax and unwind after a busy summer, Carla Bauer thinks that you should take up the chance to be led around the island’s leafy byways.
She’s the co-organiser of the 2016 Guernsey Autumn Walking Festival, which offers strolls along the quiet back roads where pedestrians have priority over cars. In September, when the leaves are out, she says the routes are, “refreshing, green and quiet alley ways to walk along.”
The event offers 50 organised walks over 16 days and the programme includes morning, afternoon and evening trips, ranging from one hour’s duration to a full day. And you don’t need to be the owner of Nordic poles. Carla says it’s great for all abilities, with easier walks that they’re calling ‘ambles’ alongside more serious ‘rambles,’ including the steep cliff top coastal path.
There are two all-day, coast-to-coast walks covering Guernsey, which is 9 miles long by 3 miles wide. And if you want to learn more about life on a tiny Channel Island, walkers will be able to catch the boat over to Herm, where an island resident will share places that tourists don’t usually see.
All of the walks have themes and they’re intended to inform and educate, Carla says. You’ll learn about the island’s rich history in the most stunning classroom with coastal views. Guernsey has been inhabited for 8,000 years and the island’s medieval history will be covered along with its military importance and the German wartime occupation.
As it’s an island, you’ll also have the chance to hear smuggling and seafaring stories as you take in the spectacular scenery. There were many shipwrecks around the island’s coast in the 1700s and 1800s. Renoir and French poet and novelist Victor Hugo both spent time on the island and they’ll feature in some guide’s anecdotes too.
And if you want to go but your partner isn’t that bothered about walking there are many activities outside the festival too, including getting a taste for the local cuisine. “Our seafood is wonderful,” says Carla. There’s also an affordable lazy option, she says. “We have a great bus service and the company has kept the prices at one pound per single ticket.”
Find out more at Visit Guernsey’s website.