What a lovely weekend! With threats of dismal weather darkening the end of last week, the actual weekend turned out surprisingly delightful – enough to make this outdoor girl happy.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little bit of an archaeology geek. Well, prehistory geek to be more precise, and with a habitation timeline in the island going back 250,000 years there is so so much prehistory on this tiny island, and I’m forever trying to link between the present and the past in my island wanders.
Consider this weekends walk which came about all because of a book. I was casually reading Joseph Sinels one hundred year old book Prehistoric Times and Men of the Channel Islands, as you do, when it made mention of a neolithic relic beyond the present shoreline at La Hocq. And, because I’d never heard of it before, I just had to go and investigate. The tide was dropping when we arrived, exposing the naked sea bed for us to discover. The word relic makes me think of splinters from a Christian cross, but this relic was somewhat larger;
18 feet in length, 9 feet by 6 feet in diameter at the base, and tapering to a point, lies on a bed of gravel, about 100 yards from the shoreline
Nevertheless, we couldn’t find it! The closest we got was this unusual arrangement of stones. The book was written a hundred years ago, and it was normal practice for prehistoric monuments to be used as easy quarry for building materials, so perhaps that’s why we couldn’t find it. Or perhaps I just wasn’t looking in the right place….. That didn’t stop us enjoying the early morning stroll. Firstly we walked to the right of
Le Hocq Tower. In the distance you can see the tree line which is the backdrop to Green Island beach. I love that you can walk along this bay and around the corner to Green Island, at low tide. This is a very quiet bay, with only a handful of dog walkers who seem to use it. Which is surprising when you come across this tiny, private, sandy cove. Can you see that massive fig tree, right there at the edge of the sand? I can just see me spending lazy sunny days here and gorging on fresh figs. The bay here is full of rocky outcrops of granite with lichens and grasses clinging resolutely on. The tower at Le Hocq is a Jersey round tower built in 1781 under the orders of the lieutenant governor Henry Seymour Conway, the same year in which the Battle of Jersey occurred. In the forefront of the tower the Societe Jersiaise excavated some barrel wells in 2010 (more info here – archaeology section reports) but the shifting sands have covered them over again.Nowadays the granite tower is partially painted white to act as a daylight navigational aid. There is another cluster of rocky outcrops sitting a short way offshore from the slipway at Le Hocq, regally named the King, Queens and Prince’s rocks, and a berm of pebbles is slowly building up between them.The granite here is exceptionally pink. I don’t know how many times I have walked here over the last 20 years, it must have been hundreds, but this time, this walk, I found what looks like a harbour wall and boat mooring out behind the rocky outcrops. How do you miss something this size??? It’s not a shrinking violet. I don’t have any info on what, when, how and why it was built. But give me time… We weaved our merry way back towards the slipway, between worm casts and boat moorings, seaweed and salty pools. Crunched over paths of winkles and limpet shells. All topped off with bright sunshine, azure skies and the wispiest of cotton-ball clouds.