Please note, this blog was written before the Corona Virus outbreak. Therefore some practices and details may have changed to reflect good practice and government advice during these unprecedented times.
The last few years have seen many more people become aware of the impact that taking holidays can have on the environment, and how we all have a responsibility to act in a more sustainable way when we travel.
The Channel Islands, of course, are renowned for their abundance of natural beauty, so the more environmentally-conscious holidaymaker may sometimes be worried about whether visiting the area could damage its famously pristine landscape. If you include yourself in this number, however, don’t worry – here, we will show you how your future Guernsey holidays could actually help reduce the island’s carbon footprint.
It’s fair to say that holiday activities don’t get much more carbon-neutral than walking, and it won’t surprise you to learn that this is one of the main reasons the small but stunning island of Guernsey is such a consistently popular destination among lovers of the great outdoors.
Despite its well-deserved reputation as being a holiday spot of choice for those who most enjoy exploring the coast, though, it would be wrong to say that Guernsey’s headlands, beaches and bays are the highlights for every walker that visits.
Its landmass may be modest, but Guernsey has many diverse features, both natural and man-made, that make it a joy to discover, whatever the time of year. From ancient castles to remnants of the Second World War, you will be surprised at what a stroll around Guernsey can serve up.
If you love cycling but are used to having to weave your way in and out of the traffic on crowded city streets, we think you’ll find taking your bike around Guernsey’s most picturesque routes to be an escape into absolute tranquillity.
It’s not by chance that the island is such a peaceful place to explore on two wheels. The neighbouring island of Jersey is famous for its ‘Green Lanes’ system of pedestrian-friendly roads, and Guernsey has also established a similar network known as the ‘Ruettes Tranquilles’ (which translates into the ‘Quiet Lanes’).
Much like the Green Lanes, these roads give priority to cyclists, walkers and horse riders and impose a recommended speed limit of 15mph on motorised vehicles. This means that you can relax and enjoy seeing all of Guernsey’s most famous and beautiful sights without having to get stressed by the prospect of cars endlessly zooming by.
Follow the link above to our dedicated cycling page will tell you more about some of the different cycle hire companies that operate in Guernsey, so you won’t have to worry about bringing your own bike along.
Choosing to spend your holidays doing activities that don’t harm your destination’s environment is obviously great, but why not go the extra mile when you next visit Guernsey and do something that actively improves the island’s wonderful biodiversity?
You don’t have to be Greta Thunberg to make a real difference to our island’s environmental health, and we would like to encourage any future visitors to do their bit and spend a day during their trip helping to keep our glorious beaches clean.
With a total of over 25 sandy stretches in Guernsey, it is no easy feat ensuring that each and every one is spotless all the time, so our local eco-warriors (the beach cleaners are affectionately known as ‘Wombles’!) will be more than welcoming of anyone who pitches in and picks up even a few pieces of litter whilst they enjoy exploring our magical coastline.
If you live in the countryside or have even just spent a holiday or two in the past in rural areas, at some point you will probably have come across some little stalls at the roadside which proudly displays locally-produced vegetables, plants or flowers. In Guernsey, however, this practice is much more widespread than most other places – in fact, it forms part of the weekly shop for many locals!
Known as ‘hedge veg’, this brilliant way of residents finding somewhere for their surplus home-grown supplies to go has developed into a real source of pride for islanders. What’s more, Guernsey’s friendly nature is summed up by the fact that these roadside stalls are usually unattended and just rely on passers-by paying for their goods by placing their donations into an ‘honesty box’.
You can visit Genuine Guernsey Hedge Veg Facebook page dedicated to this charming Guernsey phenomenon.
The Guernsey Weigh
Of all the environmental problems that the world faces today, surely the two most significant are plastic pollution and food waste. And, whilst it may only be a small island, there is now a hugely successful shop in Guernsey that is a shining example of how both problems can be confronted head-on.
Found in the Market Buildings in the island capital of St Peter Port, The Guernsey Weigh is simultaneously a tribute to the markets that have been held in this area for centuries and a vision of how the future of shopping could look. To sum it up, the shop’s ethos is simple: to provide great quality goods whilst producing absolutely zero waste.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers to the shop; once inside, they weigh their containers, then fill them up with as little or as much of what they want (available stock ranges from fruit and veg to spices and healthcare products), then weigh the containers again and pay only for the weight of the goods. Simple? Yes. Efficient? Yes. Kinder to the environment? 100%.
Finally, as if everything we’ve already shared wasn’t enough to show how dedicated Guernsey and its residents are to protecting the island’s rich and precious environment, it is worth mentioning that there are also occasional markets held locally which only sustainably-minded stallholders can sell their wares at.
Held on a semi-regular basis in the grounds of the Les Cotils Hotel overlooking St Peter Port (or inside, depending on the weather), these fantastic markets are committed to showcasing the best of what Guernsey’s many environmentally-responsible retailers have to offer.
From responsible dairy-free cheese and butter by the Free From Farm to delicious, free-range meat courtesy of Wallace Family Guernsey Lamb and Beef and even artisan jewellery from the Magpie’s Nest, everything that’s available at these unique markets is worth casting an eye over.