Walks on the wild side

Environment | News

Even in the depths of a windswept winter, walking the cliffs and countryside is always rewarding. It’s a wonderful time to admire the bare bones of Guernsey’s natural heritage when landscapes and lichen-laden branches all come to the fore. 

While Le Bigard, Le Gouffre and Le Prévôté are spectacular all year round, their seascape and craggy locations can be particularly pleasing in winter, while most plants are dormant, yet the gorse still blooms. Here and there a pale campion can be found and, still invisible to the naked eye, bluebells and primroses are preparing to force their way through the still green pathways and fields. 

Berried ivy and scarlet rosehips are stars of this frugal winter landscape of pleasingly bare and sculptured trees. Evidence of last year’s storms is still everywhere we look where deadwood has cascaded around young and supple saplings. In fact, drama is everywhere from the tumbling seas to the roaring grey skies with gulls riding the wind in a sideways fashion. 

From a high vantage point and when the sun breaks through, a vast mirror of light shines from the sea across a wild view of more than 180 degrees. It feels glorious and uplifting. 

During these short days, there’s great pleasure in striding out on a windy day and ‘blowing the cobwebs away’. The homeward journey feels welcome, and a cuppa feels well deserved. More time spent outside makes the inevitable indoor time feel just about alright!

Archive notes: The eastern flank of Clifton Valley was the first land purchase by National Trust of Guernsey.

Nature notes: Creating butterfly glades in the Clifton Valley, a project by National Trust of Guernsey and Guernsey Conservation Volunteers