by Kate 5th January 2016

Photo: Michele Beltrame / CC

Lihou Island is a small tidal island that forms the most westerly point of the Channel Islands. At low tide it is connected to the L’Eree headland in St Peter’s parish via a stone causeway. While recorded history for the island began in 933 AD there is evidence of Mesolithic era habitation from archaeological digs that took place in the 1990s.

Along with the Neolithic tombs found close by on the L’Eree Headland, locals traditionally believed that the island was a meeting place for witches and fairies. This was somewhat unfortunate for the Benedictine monks who, under the authority of Mont St Michel, founded the Priory of St Mary on the island sometime in the 12th Century. Locals suggested that the monks may themselves be in league with dark forces.  Although it is more likely that the Priory was founded as a challenge to the local beliefs! The priory, now in ruins, is thought to be the largest religious relic in the Bailiwick.


Photo: Hannah Johnson / CC

The Priory was seized in the 15th Century by Henry V as an alien priory and, despite several Priors being installed, the Priory was largely abandoned and in 1759 the building was destroyed. John West, The Governor of Guernsey, had the building demolished in order to prevent French forces of what became the Seven Years’ War from occupying the island.

In the 19th century a farmhouse was built by the then lieutenant bailiff of Guernsey, Eleazor le Marchant. It appears that in the early 19th century the Island had become significant in the seaweed industry;


Lihou Island was identified as


a site of nature conservation importance 


in 1989, and as part of an "Important Bird Area" which includes parts of the shoreline of Guernsey and, together with L’Eree Headland was later designated Guernsey’s first Ramsar Wetland site in 2006. This has lead it becoming an extensive marine and nature reserve and a number of rare and endangered species are observed in the area as a result. Consequently, as well as being a site for ordinary tourism, as well as education, Lihou’s main source of income has now become ecological tourism!


Photo: Robert Lihou / CC

Times of tides and the days which the island can be visited are available on the States of Guernsey Website and via The Guernsey Information Centre. Opening times for the causeway are also posted at either end of the causeway, published in the Guernsey Press and broadcast by BBC Radio Guernsey. It is recommended that visitors leave at least 20 minutes to traverse the ¼ mile causeway.

Accessible via Buses on routes 91, 92, 93, 94, 95

Posted by boss
Tuesday, 5th January 2016, 08:27pm.
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