From rare birdlife to wild seals, from coastal vistas to stunning landscapes, Guernsey is a paradise for nature-lovers. Whether you’re staying at The Old Government House Hotel and Spa or The Duke of Richmond, guests are spoilt for opportunities to delve into the local habitat, be it on animal safaris, picturesque walks or via some adventure sports. In our latest guide to Guernsey, we look at the best ways to experience the island’s incredible nature and wildlife.
If you can drag your eyes away from Guernsey’s dramatic coastline, look up and you’ll discover a sky full of interesting bird life. The island’s most famous resident is the Atlantic puffin, recognisable by its white belly, black coat and colourful beak. Visitors can get up close to these majestic birds on a ‘puffin patrol’ cruise, hosted by local boat companies during peak puffin season (from March through July). Prime bird watching areas on the land include L’eree Headland, Silbe Reserve and Rue des Bergers reserve, where up to 150 species of birds – from gulls and terns to buzzards and harriers – have been recorded.
The Guernsey shoreline is filled with natural attractions just waiting to be found. Beachcombing is a popular pastime for visitors and locals alike. Each day treasure hunters gather to ‘comb’ the beach for marine life debris left behind by the tide, which usually includes a fascinating array of specimens, from seaweed and sponges to starfish, mollusc shells and cuttlefish bones. Rarer finds include shark and ray egg cases, also known as ‘mermaid’s purses’.
While Guernsey is inhabited by humans, the neighbouring island of Herm is best known for its community of Atlantic Grey seals. Pods of seals can be seen basking in the sun on the rocky outcrops of the island. See the beautiful creatures up close in the wild by taking a seal spotting boat. If you’re lucky, you may spot some dolphins playing in the waves, too.
Back on Guernsey, the island’s stunning natural landscape makes it a walker’s paradise. Spring is a particularly picturesque time of year to enjoy a leisurely walk, as the coastline blossoms with nature. From coastal rambles to inland hikes and historic sites, there are so many routes to choose from. See the best of the island by taking part in the Spring Walking Festival, and enjoy guided walks through Guernsey’s most beautiful and fascinating locations.
Instead of gazing at Guernsey’s impressive cliffs, why not climb them? Coasteering is a high-octane sport in which adventure enthusiasts challenge themselves to sea level traversing (climbing on rocks that hang at a low level over the ocean), rock scrambling and swimming in natural gullies and caves. It’s an excellent way to get close to nature and test yourself while having fun. A waterproof camera wouldn’t go amiss.
Images Credits: Atlantic Puffins © iStock/northlightimages, starfish_iStock/nautilus_shell_studios, Atlantic grey seal © iStock/SoopySue, Guernsey coastline © iStock/chris2766, rock climbing © iStock/vernonwiley, Cover © iStock/asmithers