Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dolmen Day

Another day of fairly constant westerlies at around force 5 encouraged another day on the cycle as opposed to being out on the water.  Rather than just a random ride around the Island I selected 5 dolmens and decided to join them together, using as many of the cycle routes as possible.  
I headed east from St Helier, following the coast initially before heading inland.  Mont Ube was reached first, in just under 3 miles.  The route to Faldouet went through some of the most pleasant countryside of St Saviour and St Martin, using small lanes to cover just over 5.5 miles.  It was then 3.5 miles to Dolmen du Couperon.  I stopped for drink and food because it was over 13 miles to Grantez, overlooking the west coast of the Island.
The route to the final dolmen dropped into St Ouen's Bay before a short climb to the headland above La Pulente, to visit La Sergente.  From here it was onto the Railway Walk and the cycle track back to St Helier.  Following the route that I took was exactly 37 miles.  It gave a real purpose to visiting some of the most fascinating historic sites on the Island.
A great day out.
First stop was the Dolmen de Mont Ube, to the east of St Helier.  Approximately 6,000 years old, the dolmen was excavated in 1848, sadly there had been significant damaged to the structure by people quarrying.  It had also suffered abuse as a rubbish dump and a pigsty.

La Pouquelaye de Faldouet, is pretty close to Gorey, although it would be quite a strenuous uphill walk.  It was first recorded as a site of historic interest in 1682 and was excavated several times before the start of the 20th Century.  Built about 6,000 years ago and has an unusual double chamber.
Le Dolmen du Couperon, overlooks the north east corner of the Island.  Approximately 5,000 years old it was first excavated in 1868, although not very well.
 Grantez, is located in a quiet corner of St Ouen the north west parish.  6,000 years old it was excavated in 1912, 8 human skeletons as well as bones from a variety of animals.  Grantez is a very special place for many people.
 La Sergente, on a headland between La Pulente and Corbiere, is possibly the oldest dolmen on the Island, at approximately 6,500 years old.  It was excavated in 1923, prior to this it was covered by a mound.  This was the last stop on the cycle route, it was pretty much all downhill to St Helier.

Looking across to Corbiere, it was clear from the sea state that the wind was still blowing fairly constantly from the west.  Cycling seemed like a good choice.

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