St Catherine’s Woods is one of the largest woodlands in Jersey. Despite it being one of the largest woodlands in Jersey, I found it to be the hardest woodlands to find. Yes, Jersey might be small but I can still spend an hour in the car doing loops whilst desperately lost. In the end I did what I should have done at the beginning, I pulled the car over and I asked a local for directions. It turns out that I was right next to the woods but the woods was down a private road and so I had wrongly assumed that it couldn’t be down there. The wood is situated near the North-East coast in the parish of St Martin, it is also very close to St Catherine’s Breakwater. St Catherine’s Breakwater deserves a visit in its own right and not just for the enormous ice-creams they serve. If you want an ice-cream on Jersey then be sure to head to St Catherine’s Breakwater as you will find the biggest ice-creams on the island.
St Catherine’s Wood is idyllic. It covers an area of 18 hectares and is made up of woodland and meadows. There are no public toilets as far as I am aware and so we did have to dash back to the car so that Youngest could use the potty! The wood is perfect for little ones to go exploring, you will find babbling brooks and stepping-stones. Youngest was well prepared in her welly boots and used this as an excuse to jump into the brooks.
Youngest loved splashing around and she informed me that she was also looking for fairies riding fish. Keep looking Youngest! You never know she might find something because St Catherine’s Wood is considered the most ecologically important woodland in the island. In the streams you can find brown trout and eels. We didn’t spot any this time.
Youngest decided to avoid the path and follow the stream. It made me wish for a pair of welly boots so that I could have jumped in and joined her. As well as streams there is a reservoir stocked with common and mirror carp, roach, rudd, perch and tench. We even spotted two fishermen patiently waiting for a fish to come along.
Youngest’s favourite part of the woods has to be the stepping-stones. Every time we return to the woods she runs off to find them. The wood was very important during the German Occupation (1940-1945) as the trees were felled and the timber used for building and fuel. During this relatively short period of time 200,000 trees were cut down on the island.
One of the things you notice about the woods is the different sounds. You can hear the babbling brook and the trees swaying gently in the wind. You can also hear birdsong. We also listened out for a woodpecker and heard one. Other birds that can also be found in the woods are:
- short-toed treecreeper
We spent a good couple of hours exploring the woodland until we came out into the surrounding meadows. The surrounding fields are used for grazing or to grow Jersey Royals. We also came across Rozel Manor which is one of the oldest manor houses in Jersey.
However, some of the paths are quite overgrown here so we soon retreated back to the woods and found some shade from the sun. Finding ourselves back in the woods Youngest got to work collecting sticks. Anywhere we go Youngest has to find a stick.
After we had exhausted ourselves climbing and banging sticks we made our way back to the car. Not without getting lost first. It really is a lovely oasis but one thing that is lacking is sign posts! We really enjoyed our visit as it was a hot day and the woods offered us some much needed shade.
It was the perfect meander through the woods and it was nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the island. This is now one of our new favourite places to visit. We will be back soon!