With its windswept common, natural harbours, large sandy bays, historic fortifications and ancient megaliths, the North of Guernsey possesses a highly distinctive character that sets it apart from the rest of the island. In fact, just over 200 years ago the low-lying area of "La Braye du Valle" was separated from the Guernsey "mainland" to the South by a narrow channel of water. When that area was filled in and reclaimed in 1806, the bridge that used to connect the two islands was dismantled, but the vibrant area of shops and cafes around Guernsey's second harbour, St Sampson's is still today known by locals as "The Bridge".
A little further up is the impressive hilltop fortress of the Vale Castle, which is transformed into a wonderful walled area for outdoor summer music festivals. Just below the castle is the picturesque harbour of Bordeaux, which was so named in the era when Guernsey enjoyed strong links with the French wine region of Gascony. These days though, Bordeaux is where children gather to jump into the water from rocks and sea walls that make natural highboards, while local boat owners go out in their small traditional craft to to lay their lines and crab pots.
Guernsey's northern coastline offers a surprise around every corner, from the oyster farm at Noirmont to the lovely little marina at Beaucette, both of which are located within exhausted granite quarries. Beaucette marks the eastern end of L'Ancresse Common, an expansive public area of grass, gorse and sand dunes where golfers co-exist happily with horse riders, ramblers and wildlife enthusiasts.
In addition to the common the North's major draw is the seaside and in particular the bays of L'Ancresse, Pembroke and Ladies Bay, which reveal golden expanses of sand at low tides. Added to the North coast's unspoiled natural attributes are some striking human features. The concrete sea defences erected as part of Hitler's Atlantic wall, the stone watchtowers built in the 18th Century to ward off the French and the ancient dolmens left by Guernsey's early Neolithic settlers. For many reasons, the North of Guernsey has a very special allure.