Focus On Torteval

by boss 20th October 2015

Guernsey is divided into ten parishes and Torteval is the most western, it is also the smallest housing less than 1000 residents. It is split in two by the parish of St Pierre du Bois, with the part in the east known as Torteval. The detached peninsula to the west is called Pleinmont beyond which is only sea until you arrive in America!

Hanois Lighthouse
Les Hanois Lighthouse by James Stringer on flickr | CC


Despite its size the parish is home to a number of great events and curiosities including the annual Rocquaine Regatta in August, an annual Scarecrow festival and a small working harbour, Portelet bay, Portelet forms the southern end of Rocquaine Bay and has sweeping views of Fort Grey, Lihou Island and Hanois Lighthouse. The lighthouse, approximately a mile off the coast, constructed in the 1860s and first lit in 1862, was one of the last to become automated in 1996.

First Grey

Fort Grey by James Stringer on flickrCC

Fort Grey, known to the locals as the “Cup and Saucer” due to its distinctive shape, is a Martello Tower which was built in 1804 to defend Guernsey's west coast during the Napoleonic Wars. The Martello Tower now houses a Shipwreck Museum which tells the story of the wrecks on the West Coast.

Also on the coast, is Creux Mahie, the largest non-tidal cave in the island. Now too dangerous to visit, it is thought to have been used by smugglers in the past. Locals suggested that the cave was the exit from fairyland and claimed to see fairies on the cliffs above. Indeed, it is close to the site of La Table des Pions, or the “fairy ring” a circular ditch with a circle of stones around its edge.

Local folklore suggests that if you walk around the ring on Pleinmont Headland three times and make a wish it will come true, however, the truth of the circle is sadly rather more mundane, in reality it was used, up until 1837, as a dugout picnic area by island officials when inspecting the condition of the roads and coastal defences.

Torteval Church

Torteval Church by STML on flickr | CC

Away from the coast, towards the center of the parish you will find the parish church, St Philippe de Torteval. The church is notable because it has one of the oldest bells in the Channel Islands and features the tallest steeple in Guernsey, and as a result is used as a sea-mark.


Posted by boss
Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 02:24pm.
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