A large manor house

Plémont & St Ouen Walk

A walk through the ancient lanes of St Ouen to discover medieval manors and a prehistoric monument

Walk Details

  • 1 hour
  • Starts at: Plémont Car Park
  • Ends at: Plémont Car Park
  • 3.2 miles
  • Beginner
Parking available. Bus route 8

Leaving the car park at Plémont, walk back along the road towards Café Ouen on the main road. Cross over and take the road to the left of Café Ouen called La Rue de la Porte.

The first house on the left is La Maison de Portinfer. The name means ‘the gateway down to the coast’ and suggests that the Plémont headland was at one time a place to escape from invaders from the south-east.

An old farm building with wooden gate

La Maison de Portinfer

Half way along this road, on the left, you will pass a property called Le Petit Menage which is regarded as one of the best examples of a medieval house in Jersey. The main entrance arch is carved from granite believed to be sourced from Chausey (a small group of islets between Jersey and France) and it has an impressive open hall fireplace.

At the junction, turn left into La Rue du Nord and pause by St George’s Church.
A granite Farm House

Le Petit Menage

St George’s Church is a good example of a late 19th century church and was built by the Exeter firm of J Hayward & Son who were also building St Ouen’s Parish Hall at about the same time. It was a chapel-of-ease to serve the parishioners in the north-west of St Ouen, a more convenient place to attend church services than the relatively long walk to worship at the parish church.

A church with a red post box in the wall

St George’s Church

Continue along La Rue du Nord.

On the right you will pass La Ferme, a collection of historic farm buildings, that is notable for the unusual survival of a 17th century laverie/boulangerie (washhouse/bakehouse). Further along on the right you will pass Vinchelez Cottage which dates back to the medieval period. This area of St Ouen is known as Vinchelez and takes its name from the de Vinchelez family who in turn took their name from the town of Winchelsea in Sussex.

These small country lanes are typical of St Ouen and contribute to the distinctive identity of this far western parish. Its exposure to the wind allows few trees to grow and the area is characterised by field boundaries of low earth banks and granite walls.

At the end of the road turn left into La Rue des Doubles Chasses.
A country cottage

La Ferme

On the right you will pass the entrance to Vinchelez de Haut Manor, a magnificent property dating to the 18th century but on a site of medieval origin. A second manor house, Le Vinchelez de Bas, lies on the other side of the main road. The two manors once belonged to a single fief – an ancient feudal district under the control of a Seigneur (similar to an English Lord of the Manor). The division of the two manors, which originated in the Middle Ages, was made official in 1605, with John de Carteret named Seigneur of Vinchelez ‘de Haut’ (higher), and Elie Dumaresq as Seigneur of Vinchelez ‘de Bas’ (lower ground) referring to the relative position of the two houses.

The chapel, first recorded in 1156 and dedicated to St George, was shared between the two manors. It has now disappeared, but its altar-stone survives at St Ouen’s Manor.

At the junction with the main road, cross with great care and bearing right, taking the immediate left into La Rue de Geonnais.

The lane passes Vinchelez de Bas Manor on the right. The site dates from the medieval period and the original entrance on the main road is marked by an arch dating to 1500 with the Dumaresq coat of arms supported by two animals. The original manor house is believed to have been on the site of the present stables that you will pass by as you walk down the lane. The present house was built on higher ground to the east around 1818 by John Daniel de Carteret and the de Carteret arms feature on the front of the building. The site is a fine example of its type, laid out in the early 19th century in naturalistic style to accompany the new villa with a winding approach drive, focal pond, informal lawns, shrubberies, the remains of a walled garden by the house, and a kitchen garden, framed by many mature trees.

A large manor house

Vinchelez de Haut Manor

Continue along La Rue de Geonnais.

Towards the end of the road you will pass Les Geonnais Farm on the right. This is an attractive group of farm buildings with a very fine main house with a frontage dating from around 1750. There are some unusual brick built pigsties around 1895 and a datestone at a circular window in the barn inscribed ‘EL AM LMQ 1895’ which stands for Elias Luce and Alice Mary Le Marquand.

Continue to the end of the road, ignoring the turning opposite Les Geonnais Farm.

On the right, Les Geonnais de Bas is a significant collection of farm buildings, whose main house with its unusually small windows dates it to the medieval period. Within the roof, a simple A-framed roof structure survives, constructed in elm, which is likely to date from the 17th century. There is a late medieval fireplace on the ground floor and a simple oak staircase from around 1700. The location next to a dolmen of the same name adds to the historical importance of this property.

A large farmhouse in granite

Les Geonnais Farm

Continue to the very end of the road and follow the track on the right, by the ‘No vehicular access’ sign, to discover the dolmen.

La Hougue des Geonnais is a prehistoric monument of outstanding importance to the archaeological heritage of Jersey. It is a Neolithic passage grave that was built around 6,000 years ago and was first excavated by the Société Jersiaise in 1929. It was badly damaged by quarrying prior to excavation but more recent research has revealed the position of the lost stones and they have now been replaced with granite blocks. A circular rubble mound encloses the passage and chamber.

Excavations suggest that this was paved with sea pebbles. There was a large number of finds at the site including Neolithic pottery, flint tools, scrapers and arrowheads, broken querns, stone rubbers and a pottery spindle-whorl.

Return to the road and walk back to Les Geonnais Farm. Walk down the road opposite the Farm and continue on this road until you eventually meet the junction with the main road.

As you walk, look out to sea and you can see the Paternosters reef on the horizon.

An ancient Dolmen

La Hougue des Geonnais

According to local legend, a boat was wrecked on the reef while sailing to Sark with people to colonise the tiny island. It is said that the cries of the women and children can still be heard from time to time in the wind and superstitious sailors would say the Lord’s Prayer (or Pater Noster) when passing the rocks.

At the busy junction, continue with great care until you reach Café Ouen and a well-earned cup of tea!

On the return walk to the car park, enjoy the views of the Plémont headland. For many years this was the site of a holiday camp and there were plans to develop it until a campaign by the National Trust for Jersey saved the site and returned it to nature.

A field, gate and tree

Plémont headland