Walking and birdwatching in Alderney

From St Anne’s to Braye Beach

Around 3 hours including some coastal paths and the Vau du Saou inland nature reserve

Walking through the nature reserve The small island of Alderney is some 20 miles north-east of Guernsey, although only three and a half miles long by one and a half miles wide, it is a great place for walking with over 50 miles of marked trails. Like neighbouring Guernsey,  the fact that the coast path takes you in and out of coves makes for interesting walking, but in the case of Alderney there is also a multitude of sights to see, both natural and man-made, as well as many species of birds. Alderney is home to around 2% of the world population of northern gannets (around 11,000), with Les Etacs, a rocky outcrop visible from the southern cliffs. It also boasts the only colony of European storm petrels in the Channel Islands which is over 1% of the British population as well as a colony of Atlantic puffins.

There are some excellent printed walking guides available from the tourist information centre on Victoria Street, but we were lucky enough to be shown around by Anne-Isabelle Boulon, a fascinating and passionate English speaking guide from the Living Islands programme.

Buzzard Leaving from St Anne’s we followed Water Lane a secluded path down to NewTown. This footpath offers shelter for many passerines all year round; species and behaviour change according to the season. Anne-Isabelle explained that during spring, birdsong comes from everywhere and especially from chiffchaff, wren, blackbird and tits who sing with all their hearts.  During summer and early autumn, only the robin still sings but the bushes are teeming with life: greenfinch, blackcap and thrushes are numerous.

From there we turned right before climbing up onto Les Rochers the site of a German Fortress Bunker and now converted into a nature viewing platform. The views from here over the harbour, once for spotting the enemy approach, now allows a view of the beautiful Braye beach, a spotless sweep of white sand and the harbour protected by the half-mile long breakwater.

Little egret Anne-Isabelle talked to us about the Alderney Community Woodland which is a good place to see birds of prey and the rare (in England) raven.  You can often see a buzzard taking off or a kestrel hovering. During spring, there is even a pair of sparrowhawk breeding. In late summer and early autumn, passerines (smaller perching birds) are attracted by the juicy fruits such as blackberries as they need to stock up on energy before their migration to the south.

Going back downhill towards Fort Albert we arrived at the old quarry railway which you can follow eastwards towards the lighthouse at the far north-eastern point of the island featuring Roman, Victorian and German fortifications. En route you pass by the most beautiful of beaches, Saye beach, just a mile from the town where you can swim in crystal clear water among the rock formations.

Chiffchaff At Corblets Bay, herring and greater black-backed gulls enjoy resting on this quiet beach, and sometimes a Mediterranean gull can be spotted among them. From the end of July to April, groups of ringed plovers are often busy hunting sand hoppers close to the sea while the elegant little egret and the noisy oystercatchers prefer prey living in the rock pools.

Rounding the point along the flat coastal path we passed by Fort Hommeaux Florains, ruined but accessible to explore (with care) at low tide, and the almost intact medieval style Fort Houmet Herbé, before reaching the long sweeping Longis Bay which is backed by a Tank Wall. At low tide you can walk along the beach protected from the wind by the imposing wall.

From the end of the beach and the Roman fort we crossed back along the coast, ending at the Braye Beach Hotel which serves a very good afternoon tea and drinks on the veranda directly overlooking the sea.

For further information Visit Alderney

See also:

176 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Debbie Marshall

Founder of Silver Travel Advisor

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

With over 7,000 years of history, Malta is the ultimate holiday destination for any history buff!…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.