Alderney is the most northerly inhabited island in the Channel Islands. It is full of nature and history dating back to the Romans to World War II.
Alderney is 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide therefore walking is a perfectly reasonable way of getting around. There are 10 miles of coastal path to walk around in Alderney that is well signposted with amenities on route.
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The Best Walks in Alderney
In this guide we will share different points around the route, what you can see there and where the amenities are.
- Southern Cliffs and Wildlife Bunker
- The Gannet Trail
- The Zig-Zag and Fort Clonque
- Burhou and Fort Clonque
- Alderney Community Woodland Trail
- The Longis Nature Reserve Trail
- Mid-Island Walk
- St Anne Town Walk
- Fort Albert and Bibette Head Trail
Southern Cliffs and Wildlife Bunker
If you are into stunning cliff views then you will love the start of this walk. At approximately 3.5km, this first part of the walk starts at the Visitor Information Centre in town. You will walk through an area of grassland called Val du Saou which is a perfect habitat for Alderney’s only reptile, the slow worm.
Head through the woods and across the bridge and if you are doing this walk in April and May, the area will be full of beautiful bluebells and full of life with birds.
You can choose to follow the main coastal path here, or follow a more remote route that is steeper but worthwhile.
Keep the sea on your right and you will soon sea a white marker stone directing you towards the Wildlife Bunker.
The Gannet Trail
This section of the walk is 3.5miles and is very steep following a path close to the cliff edge so it is important to take care. It is best to do this walk between May and October when the headland will be covered in yellow gorse and the gannets will be seen at Les Etacs.
Les Etacs is home to 12,000 gannets between the months of March and October. You will also see in the distance the smaller islands of Sark and Breqhou and maybe even Guernsey and Herm. To the right, you will see Burhou where there is puffin and storm petrel colonies.
We would recommend bringing some binoculars if you have them. If not, you can rent them from Alderney Wildlife Trust.
The Zig-Zag and Fort Clonque
The Zig-Zag walk will allow you to see some of the islands most historical sites along with more amazing views. There is a sign marked Zig-Zag heading towards the sea, follow this sign.
From this area of the headland, you will be able to see across to the island of Burhou and you can lookout for a variety of species of seabirds. Ahead you will see Fort Clonque and to the right you will see Fort Tourgis.
Burhou and Fort Clonque
Fort Clonque is another impressive fort on the western coast of Alderney. It was built during the Victorian era to protect the island from the French.
The fort is inaccessible at high tide and there is a causeway to walk out to it at low tide. It sits surrounded by rocks and waves out at sea and is a great place to catch a look at some wildlife.
Fort Clonque is a very picturesque fort and can actually be booked as accommodation to stay in. It sleeps up to 13 people, imagine sleeping with the sound of waves surrounding you!
Look out to sea and you will see the island names Burhou where the largest population of puffins can be found in the English Channel. The only colony of storm petrels also live here.
Continue to follow the tarmac round and you will pass Fort Tourgis. Fort Tourgis was built in the 1800’s as one of the largest Victorian forts in Alderney. This building looks over the sea as it was built to defend the island. Much of it is overgrown and on the floors below, you can peak inside. We wouldn’t advise going inside due to the rotting floors and unstable ceilings. Fort Tourgis is massive and completley abandoned.
Explore the old tunnels at the Tourgis Batteries and learn how these Victorian fortifications were taken over by the German’s during the Second World War. The tunnels are always free to enter however it would be advisable to bring a head torch as it is very dark. Keep an eye out for random holes in the ground as well.
As you continue along the main road you will come across an example of the beautiful beaches Alderney has to offer such as Platte Saline.
Alderney Community Woodland Trail
The Alderney Community Woodland trail is located in the heart of Alderney and is around a 3 mile walk. The entrance to the trail is found by a covered sign board revealing the route. In the Alderney Community Woodland there are over 15km of footpaths making it the largest community woodland in the Channel Islands. Over 11,000 trees have been planted by hundreds of volunteers.
Some of the path can be steep and may be muddy after wet weather, therefore we would advise wearing comfortable shoes. The walk takes around 1.5 hours.
The Longis Nature Reserve Trail
The Longis Nature Reserve Trail begins on the north eastern side of the island, starting and finishing by the Nunnery. This circular trail is beautiful all year round with amazing animals and flowers to be seen.
Along this route lies one of the most important historical buildings in the Channel Islands, originally a Roman coastal fort of the 4th Century AD, known as the Nunnery. It is believed that this was historically a signal station or coastal fort. Changes were made during the 15th or 16th century and in the 1790’s a barracks and outbuildings were added.
German fortifications were added during WWII, such as a personnel bunker and machine gun positions placed into the original walls built by the Romans. A trapdoor was also added on the western wall to allow a dolly running on a rail to leave with cargo. This is still visible today in the car park.
Turn right when you leave the nunnery car park and you will see the German Naval Tower in the distance, locally known as the Odeon. Continue to follow the white stones on the trail. Soon you will turn left onto a track along Longis Common.
This circular walk takes you around the heart of Alderney, following paths that are suitable for pushchairs. The route is roughy 1.8 miles long and takes around an hour, showing you around the centre of the island.
Along this route, you can see sights such as the forestry area of St Anne, densely packed with ash and sycamore trees and teeming with birds. You can also see the longest stretch of German underground tunnels on the island, which stretch up to 400m in length. Please note that these German structures are very old and can be dangerous to enter.
Continuing along the route, you will also come across the old watering-places that were once a vital part of Alderney’s livestock trade, providing access to freshwater for animals. Finally, you will find the graveyard known as the Strangers Cemetary, which was once used as a resting place for German soldiers before they were re-interred to Germany at the end of the war.
St Anne Town Walk
Taking you a walk around the heart of the island, Alderney’s only town St Anne.
Alderney Wildlife Trust is a charity set up to educate locals and visitors about the nature and wildlife around the island. Their shop in town sells trinkets and eco friendly goods, as well as and educational space to learn about the animals. Here you can watch the gannets and puffins through a webcam at different parts of the island. It is really fascinating and the staff and volunteers there are extremely knowledgeable and willing to help.
St Anne’s Church sits in the heart of St Anne, just off of Victoria Street and was built in 1850. This beautiful building is acknowledged as one of the finest Victorian buildings in the Channel Islands.
The original intention of the build of the church was to serve as a garrison church for the military who were stationed here during the mid 19th century when the island was being fortified against invasion. It would also serve as a Parish church for the island.
Today it is often referred to as the Cathedral of the Channel Islands due to the large size of it.
During WWII, the Germans took over the church and used it as a general store. A machine gun was mounted and there is still grafitti evident of the church walls from the Germans.
St Annes Church is one of the only churches in the world with 12 Bells, which makes hearing the bells in action a very special experience.
Fort Albert and Bibette Head Trail
Bibette Head is one of the greatest German defences in the Channel Islands and it is open for exploring inside the trenches and tunnels. You will also see the casemated gun positions and can read about the site on the information board. You will find Bibette Head at the western end of Saye beach and it would be advisable to bring a torch if you plan to explore inside.
Before You Leave for Alderney
Before you leave on your trip to the beautiful island of Alderney, there are a number of things you will need to organise to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip. These include what to pack, where to stay and what is the best travel insurance for Alderney.
How to Get to Alderney
Given that Alderney is an island, you really have two choices of transport for getting there: plane or boat. Both of these transport methods are available from Guernsey
Ferry to Alderney
During the summer months, there is a second option to get to Alderney and that is by boat. Currently, the boats are only leaving from Guernsey due to the restrictions to travel with France. The ferry options are The Little Ferry Company and Lady Maris II.
Fly to Alderney
Flights to Alderney leave 2-3 times a day from Guernsey. The duration of the flight is around 20 minutes and due to the low number of passengers generally travelling to Alderney, the plane is very small, seating around 10 passengers.
How to Get Around Alderney
Depending on what you want to do when you are in Alderney, will depend how you get around.
Due to the size of the island, it is possible to walk around, especially if the weather treats you well.
Another option would be to hire a bike or even an electric bike from Cycle and Surf. A push bike costs £14 per day for an adult and £10 per day for a junior bike. Electric bikes are £26 per day.
If you want to explore Alderney more in depth, we would highly recommend hiring a car. This allowed us a lot more freedom and flexibility. You can hire from Braye Hire Cars for either £38 or £35 per day depending on how many days you are hiring for, all inclusive of fuel.
What to Pack for Alderney
What you need to pack for Alderneyy will rely highly on when you make your trip to the Channel Islands. During the Spring and Autumn months, temperatures and weather patterns vary wildly between beautiful sunny skies and storming gales.
The temperatures generally vary from 10 oC to 25 oC during these months, with a mixture between cold, northerly winds and warmer southerlies. There is a small amount of rain, with maybe 1 in 7 days receiving rainfall, which makes it perfect for days out exploring the beautiful island.
During the Summer months in Alderney, temperatures tend to range from 20oC to 30oC, with some days topping 35oC. Summer days in Alderney are perfect for the beach, with many locals and travellers alike sending their day soaking up the sun and playing in the sea. When it comes to toiletries, we recommend that you don’t forget to pack sunscreen. The sun in Alderney can be strong, especially in the summer months.
If you need more inspiration on what to pack for your trip, check out our full packing guides for all-weather conditions over here.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you will see in Alderney, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Alderney
Regardless of what type of trip you are heading on, one thing that is essential for everybody is a good travel insurance. Accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime and unexpected hospital bills will ruin a holiday. Remove the stress from your next adventure and get covered for the worst.
World Nomads Travel Insurance provides budget reliable travel insurance that will keep you covered for any level of adventure.
Where to Stay in Alderney
When it comes to accommodation on Alderney, you are simply spoiled for choice with a huge range of hotels, B&Bs and even campsites to choose from. No matter what your preferred level of luxury is, there is the perfect place for you.
Luxury – The top place to stay when you visit Alderney has to be the Blonde Hedgehog. The attention to detail is impecable, not to mention the beautiful interior and friendly staff that make your stay so comfortable. To top it off, the food is fantastic.
Mid-range – Spend your time on Alderney in true luxury, overlooking the beach at the Braye Beach Hotel. It’s hard to beat those stunning views over the white sandy beach.
Budget – Being a small island, there isn’t much in the way of budget, however there are cheaper options. One of these is the Georgian House. Located on the high street, the Georgian House is in a central location with a restaurant and bar one site.
Camping – If you are up for a more adventurous stay on Alderney, Saye Beach Campsite offers a secluded camping experience behind the sand dunes, just a stone’s throw away for the beach. You can hire a tent at Saye Beach Campsite or bring your own. Visit their website for a full price list of tents and campsites.
So there you have it, a guide to the best walks in Alderney. This is just some of the many great things to do in Alderney, and we would recommend that you give them a go if you have the time.
If you enjoyed your trip to Alderney, let us know what your favourite sight on this amazing island was in the comments section below. We love chatting you guys about this kind of thing, so let’s share our top experiences with everyone else! What beach was your favourite? Did you try any of the walks? Where was your favourite restaurant?!
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