This walk takes several miles over mostly shingle and the odd bit of seaweed covered rock so if your decide to go make sure you have appropriate footwear, and check the weather and tides before hand, it does not take in the low water mark so you have some lee way with the incoming tide. You can park at Seymour slip or closer La Rocque harbour.

Head towards the refuge beacon and enter a small gully on the right as you pass (the second one) and after a few metres you will come across this unusual stone which is conglomerate “pudding stone” which is usually found several miles away at St Catherine’s. You can back track or I walk back a few steps then cut across and you may seem some base clay of the land of times past, it is worth looking out for anything unusual as a mammoth tooth was found near the refuge tower several years ago.

Conglomerete "Pudding stone"

Conglomerete “Pudding stone”

We now head down towards Seymour Tower passing a ridge of shingle and sand that forms part of La Petite Avarison a bit further along we come to the first engraved “P” mark this forms the western boundary of the “La Pêcherie  à Vraic et à Poisson” established by a judgement of the Royal Court on the 28th of April 1747 which confirmed the rights to the fishery of L’Avarison to Francis Payn Seigneur of La Maletière (Les Prés Manor) which he and his forebears had long enjoyed. On the 13th May, 1747 the Député Vicomte recorded the meeting when the limits of the fishing and vraicking rights were specified, the Cour de Samedi ordered this to be ratified and for the report of the experts, which names the rocks and “P” marks specified whose engravings still exist today bar one that is presumed to have been lost to quarrying when the tower was built. The area gave the Seigneur rights to collect vraic in the marked area when he wished, this absolved him of the law that we know today as the “1894 Loi sur la coupe et la pêche des vraics”  It appears that the rights were implemented almost immediately with a case being brought to the Royal Court by Centenier of Grouville and Procureur du Roi Thomas Labey against Francis Payn who had claimed a fine against Clement Quérée and five others who had been vraicking against the orders.

 The 1894 law is currently under threat of being lost with a Projet 114 of the States of Jersey so as to allow the questionable interests of those rearing ormers to take seaweed when and where they desire which they say the 1894 law which advocates sustainable use of the seaweed hinders their activities.

West of Roche Forts or Perrots

West of Roche Forts or Perrots

Les Settes Samson

Les Settes Samson

Le Nez Courant

Le Nez Courant

Rock to left (SE of La Petit Avarison) has an engraved "P" on its east face.

Rock to left (SE of La Petite Avarison) has an engraved “P” on its east face.

"P" on the north face of La Petite Avarison

“P” on the north face of La Petite Avarison

 

Seymour Tower or La Grande Avarison where it is said that Saint Samson in the 6th century stayed when passing through the island and is survived in name by the rock Les Settes Samson, to the south you will see more clay remains and is one of the more significant areas to be exposed on the south east coast. The current tower replaced an earlier structure was built in 1782 after proposals from Sir Henry Seymour Conway 1721-1795 to Lord Weymouth in 1778 and received approval and funding from King George III, the States of Jersey purchased the tower in 1923 and Jersey Heritage took it over in 2006. During the occupation it was manned by German troops and when an exchange party was returning they got cut off by the tide and locals raised the alarm and requested they be allowed to go to assist which was delayed and the party were washed away. To the south you usually see several areas of exposed clay which has a similar appearance to that found at Les Ecrehous.

Exposed clay to the east of Seymour Tower

Exposed clay to the east of Seymour Tower

The area is home to a variety of marine life, commercial fishing, and aquaculture and was designated a Ramsar wetland site of international importance in 2005 noted for being one of the largest intertidal sites in Europe, unfortunately this has seen increasing human pressure and decline of species and the habitat. The area is home to a wide variety of shorebirds both local breeding and migrant birds and the Societe Jersiaise ornithology section undertake surveys of the area on a regular basis, the marine biology section has produced a report on the ecological importance of the area, and undertake regular surveys in the area especially on the big spring tides at the equinox.

Empty half of Matra glauca "Five shilling shell"

Empty half of Matra glauca “Five shilling shell”

Some species worth looking out for are the Matra glauca “Five shilling shell” which is very rare in the U.K. but likes the sand banks of the area, it obtained its common name due to the high price that the shell demanded by Victorian collectors who enthusiastically collected and recorded sea shore species, and Jersey supplied a number of scientific collections through the work of Joseph Sinel 1844-1929 and his son in law James Hornell 1865-1949

Symagittifera roscoffensis a small (2-5mm) worm that is found is pools of water or damp areas bordering ridges or sandbanks, it is widely studied by biologists because of its endosymbiotic relationship it has with the phytoplankton  Tetraselmis convolutae which it harbours in its body cavities and so gives it green “mint sauce” appearance.

Notes and references:

One possible meaning of the word Avarison is a dangerous place, there is a place of the same name in South America.

Book “Grouville, Jersey, The history of a country Parish” page 154 out of print.

Jersey Geology Trail – submerged forests: http://www.jerseygeologytrail.net/WWWJGT/Superficial%20Deposits.html

Ice age island – http://www.jerseyheritage.org/ice-age-island

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