Walkers can now discover Jersey’s Ice Age history whilst exploring its scenic coastline. Jersey Heritage has launched an Ice Age Walking Guide, which includes three dedicated Ice Age Trails at key locations around the Island. The guide forms part of the tourism and educational resources produced by Ice Age Island, the three year archaeological research project which is set to discover the archaeological significance of Jersey’s Ice Age history, funded by the Tourism Development Fund (TDF).
The Ice Age Walking Guide features three dedicated Ice Age Trails which have been carefully crafted to include key locations noted for their geographical significance and prehistoric discoveries. Each trail introduces a different theme of discovery with a number of significant geographical features to look out for as you make your way from start to finish; each trail revealing how the spectacular scenery of the modern coastline was shaped by the forces of ice and sea during the Island’s Ice Age past.
The Guide is available to collect at Jersey Heritage visitor sites, local hotels and guesthouses and through Jersey Tourism; alternatively, it can be downloaded via the Jersey Heritage website www.jerseyheritage.com/IceAgeIsland.
Before setting off, walkers are urged to visit the Ice Age Island website where they can watch a series of short animated videos in which two members of the Ice Age Island Research team, Dr Matt Pope and Dr Martin Bates, introduce each trail and give background into why Jersey is so significant to Ice Age research. The website also features the latest updates, discoveries and key information about the Ice Age project.
The Ice Age Trails & Themes:
Trail 1 – The Hunting Grounds of La Cotte (Ouaisne to St Aubins)
This western trail includes Stone Age discoveries such as one of Europe’s most significant early Stone Age sites – the towering ravine system of La Cotte de St Brelades, the ancient raised beaches of Portelet Bay and Belcroute and submerged arctic marshes of St Aubin’s.
Trail 2 – Hunters of the Northern Coast (L’etacquerel to Groznez)
Starting at L’Etacquerel and ascending to the high heathlands of Les Landes, this route passes views of a Neolithic coastal plain, the granite stack of Le Pinacle, the ancient stream of Canal Du Squez and the raised beaches from Grosnez to Plemont.
Trail 3 – the French Connection (Gorey to Fliquet)
This east coast trail provides a rich record of the submerged Ice Age landscapes around Jersey, from Le Petit Portelet to the arctic peats at Fliquet Bay. This trail documents how over 100,000 years this landscape changed dramatically from cool, open land dominated by trees, to grasslands likely roamed by Mammoths; what’s more, it documents the final moments of Jersey’s connection with France.
About the Ice Age Island Project:
Led by Jersey Heritage and working in partnership with La Société Jersiaise and the National Trust for Jersey, Ice Age Island is a three-year archaeological project which plans to uncover the archaeological significance of Jersey’s Ice Age. Funded by the Tourism Development Fund (TDF), the project will further explore Jersey’s unique heritage stretching back over a quarter of a million years. Working alongside Jersey Tourism, Jersey Heritage will be facilitating the exploration and interpretation of this project, interpreting and transforming the archaeological discoveries of the Ice Age Island project into a tourism and educational resource.
Olga Finch, Curator of Archaeology commented “We’re still in the very early stages of the Ice Age Island project but over the next three years we aim to bring the Ice Age record under renewed, detailed scientific study. It is hoped that the Ice Age Island project will not only add to our knowledge of human prehistory in Europe but will create and exciting new dimension to Jersey’s heritage and tourist offering. Working alongside our partners, we hope to provide a full narrative of Ice Age occupation which will enhance the public understanding of what is essentially an exceptional geological resource. A landscape shaped by Ice Age processes and occupied by early humans for much of the last quarter of a million years. It is thanks to the kind support of the TDF and our partners the National Trust for Jersey and the Société Jersiaise, that this ground-breaking knowledge can be discovered.”
Initial project fieldwork and research has already uncovered hunting sites and submerged Ice Age landscapes, ranging from the earliest occupation by Neanderthals over 250,000 years ago to the arrival of the first modern humans. To date, there have already been significant finds which have received extensive national television and media coverage, including ‘Digging for Britain’ and ‘Ice Age Giants’. It is anticipated that there are more artefacts and evidence of ancient human occupation still waiting to be discovered across Jersey. The team undertaking the study is includes Dr Matt Pope, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, and colleagues from a number of UK institutions including the British Museum.
For more information visit www.jerseyheritage.org/IceAgeIsland