I could have done with that ‘Return to Start’ function on the Garmin on Saturday. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to charge the damn thing. I therefore spent the late morning plodding more or less aimlessly through the parishes of St Mary and St John. Once again my directional skills were shown to be rubbish and I even had to ask a couple with a dog which parish yonder church spire belonged to 🙂
Twin roads run east-west through St Mary’s village and north of those roads lies some real Jersey countryside. I’m not familiar with the network of quiet lanes so I basically ambled off to do a bit of exploring. A trot across a muddy bridle path was a good start and soon the first landmark. John Wesley, we are told, preached at the property Le Marais in 1787 – what took him out into the wilds of St Mary isn’t recorded.
Onwards and around the perimeter of La Mare Vineyards, pretty dead at this time of year of course. Up by the parish football pitch which sees little use these days I don’t think, and down into Mourier Valley before puffing up Mont de Barcelone. This part of the parish is very quiet indeed with few features other than gentle meadows and the occasional farm animal. But it is naturally pretty, unlike nearby St Ouen which lies there grey and sullen, reluctant to be dragged into the modern day.
I wander over the parish boundary into St John – you can tell by the road signs. And then a jar to the tranquil day, the entrance to Century House. No doubt the house is lovely and there’s a great, tree-lined avenue. But at the end of the avenue an awful construction of granite pillars and flower beds flanking gates which must be 12 feet high. And for what – are they expecting invaders and are there soldiers behind there waiting to pour boiling oil down on them? No, because you can simply walk up to the property around the gateway and through the trees. It’s simply a feck-you piece of ostentation that should never have been allowed. I can’t find an image of it but I’ll get one.
Later on my faith in the Island’s planners is restored when I find a run of six new, granite houses, expensive-looking but blending perfectly into the landscape further down Mourier Valley. The ruins of a cottage of yesteryear are, for the moment, seemingly remaining as a feature.
A couple of times I find myself approaching the busy and narrow main road so I reverse back into the wilds. After a while I’m back near Devil’s Hole, an original old tourist attraction. I don’t visit the Devil today but head vaguely back towards the car in the village.
A great little run, full of little interesting if unspectacular bits. You can feel completely cut off from the busy world, relax mind and body, and wonder how people can claim that Jersey is’ bursting at the seams’. 100 minutes of pretty slow stuff but good for the soul.