AND WILDLIFE WATCHERS DREAM
Monday 2nd-Friday 6th of May 2022-Departing from Weymouth
Alderney’s unique position between the Normandy coast and England has shaped its history and at just 3.5 by 1.5 miles, wherever you are on the island you don't have to travel far to find the past. From World War II bunkers to ancient burial grounds, forts and an Iron Age pottery - it's all here waiting to be discovered.
Nestled between the coasts of England and France, and only 23 miles from Guernsey the tiny but beautiful island of Alderney lies, there's lots to see and explore, from the tiny town of St Anne, to the beautiful beaches and abundance of history, Alderney enables you to effortlessly escape and enjoy the ‘Alderney experience’... Third largest of the Channel Islands at just 3.5 miles long by 1.5 mile wide... 8 miles from mainland France and 62 miles from Weymouth, that's only 3.5 hours by hour boat... There's roughly 2200 locals that live full time on the island, its family friendly and above all, safe... You don't have to come to the island by boat either, you can fly by Trislander or Dornier, the little yellow planes as well... White beaches, dramatic cliffs, crystal clear waters, unspoiled, charming & quirky. This is Alderney!
The town of St Anne is a short taxi ride or walk from the Harbour or the Airport and is the island’s main shopping area with various independent retailers and amenities lining the pretty cobbled streets. Victoria Street is the closest the island gets to a bustling Saturday morning and at the centre is the picturesque church or “cathedral of the Channel Islands”, dating back to 1850.
It is only a short downhill walk to the Harbour and Braye Beach, sheltered by Alderney's famous breakwater (three quarters of a mile long). The £9 Million refurbishment of Alderney's Commercial Quay in Braye Harbour is now complete and fishermen and yachtsmen drift in and out all day. Moving along the north and east coast of the island, you'll find stunning white sandy beaches with clear bays (some of the cleanest you'll find anywhere) that are safe for swimming and remain uncrowded and peaceful. The south coast offers dramatic cliff walks, scattered with curious German fortifications from WWII. Some of the best views of the island can be enjoyed from the 9-hole golf course.
There is no shortage of things to see and do on Alderney, and you will not be disappointed at how much is on offer on such a small island. Whether you are coming for a romantic weekend escape, a fun holiday with friends or with the family there is something about this place and its charm that will capture you all.
Alderney is a must-visit thanks to its natural heritage and beauty, history, tranquillity and friendliness, regardless of what you are coming for.
Alderney famed for its beautiful walks, checkout our top 4 below
Zig-Zag & Fort Clonque
A 2.5 mile circular walk from the centre of St Anne with spectacular views of Burhou and Fort Clonque. At its best during spring and autumn this walk takes in some of the island's most historic sites with spectacular views and migrant birds.
Coast Path Challenge
This well-marked coastal path offers 10 miles of breathtaking sea views with countless photo opportunities. The walk will take about 5 hours at a good pace. If taken at a more leisurely stride you can spend a whole day winding along this stunning route, hopping down onto beaches or stopping off at The Old Barn by Longis Bay for lunch. Every path marker along the way has a letter on it. You can choose to enter the ‘challenge’, decipher what words they spell and claim your certificate if correct!
The Gannet Trail
One of the more challenging self-guided walks, this section of the south coast definitely merits the time and effort as there is plenty to explore. The 3.5 mile walk along the cliffs is best enjoyed between March and October and takes in heathland flowers with spectacular views of the gannets on Les Etacs. Benches are scattered here and there along the pathway and offer a place to rest and take in the view.
Longis Nature Reserve Trail
A circular 3 mile walk around the Longis Nature Reserve, starting and finishing at the Nunnery car park. This area is important both for conservation of wetland plant species but also the wildlife that it supports. It’s an amazing trail all year round with spring flowering plants, summer resident breeding birds, autumn migrant birds and stunning winter views. A visit to the Longis and Mannez pond birdhides are a must. This trail also passes by the imposing WW2 Odeon and Mannez Lighthouse and returns along the beautiful coastal path by the Victorian Fort Houmet Herbé.
BUT... what we are here for is the wildlife...And its plentiful!!
Alderney boasts a mass of breeding Pelagic birds. Colonies of Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins... Puffins are plentiful (around 100 breeding pairs) and they start returning to nest on the island late March and then head back out to sea with their young in July. And Gannets, maybe the islands most famous sea bird, there are 1000s of them roughly 6000 pairs in fact that use the island for courting, breeding and feeding. There is also a plethera of other palegic birds including Turns, Oyster Catchers, Fulmars, Shags, Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Shearwaters and Petrels to name just a few. Along side this there is also the islands very Famous blonde hedgehogs and bats to keep us busy on the evening walks as well.
Birds of note on these trips are...Breeding waders; Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover...Cliff nesting seabirds; Gannet (2-3% of the World’s population), Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Cormorant, Shag, Kittiwakes...Migratory birds; Waders, Chats, Warblers, Flycatchers, Wagtails, Thrushes, Finches, Cuckoo...Resident land birds; Raven, Peregrine Falcon, Rock Pipit.
Then there's the cetaceans, the Channel islands have a large resident pod of Bottlenose Dolphins that frequent Alderneys coast and can often be found between the island and Guernsey. Also found in good numbers are the Grey Seals and Common Dolphins, which, generally, are always playful! Risso are also seen in good numbers throughout the year and we will have a day or 2 dedicated to trying to find these offshore. There's also a chance (be it small, but we do see them regularly) of finding White Beaked Dolphins on main crossing between Lyme bay and Alderney. Sunfish, Thresher and Basking sharks could also make an appearance.
Its also worth noting the Wildflowers Alderney has to offer as well, over 900 plant species present, one of the highest density per unit area of anywhere in north west Europe! There are over 60 scarce or rare species including Spotted Rock Rose, Small-flowered Catchfly, Sand Catchfly, Alderney Cranesbill, Purple Viper’s Bugloss and Round-headed Leek.
Check out the photo gallery and itinerary below on just some of the animals we hope to find...
Monday 2nd-Friday 6th of May 2022-Departing from Weymouth.
Guided by Tom Brereton and Skippered by Luke Pettis onboard "Snapper"
£990 per person max of 12 passengers.
General itinerary dependent on the weather.
Day 1 Depart Weymouth and travel to Alderney en route chance of Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise, migrating seabirds, checking out any mid-Channel trawlers for seabirds. Optional late afternoon/early evening wildlife walk.
Day 2 Pre breakfast bird walk. Sea day scenic cruise around the Channel Islands, seeing the Gannet colony & searching for Bottlenose Dolphins.
Day 3 Sea day. Offshore Hurd Deep chance of Risso’s Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin, optional evening walk for Bats and Hedgehogs (including Blondes) also joined by Alderney Wildlife Trust for Q&A session.
Day 4 Land day looking for breeding seabirds and waders, rare wildflowers, butterflies, resident land and migratory birds. Grey Seal. Sunset cruise and search for Puffin and European Storm-petrel around Burhou.
Day 5 Pre breakfast bird walk. Depart – travel to Weymouth, checking out the Hurd Deep and any mid-Channel trawlers for seabirds.
This trip is inclusive of travel both ways between Weymouth and Alderney. Bed, breakfast and packed lunch while staying on the island. All guided walks, trips, talks and boat tours.