Ask A Local: Top Ten Facts on Alderney, Channel Islands
Alderney is the third largest of the Channel Islands. It’s one of the few unspoiled, peaceful, natural and totally relaxing places in the British Isles.
Imagine a little island – just one and a half miles wide and three and a half miles long with just over two thousand friendly and welcoming inhabitants.
Like Guernsey and Jersey, the island enjoys a mild climate and independence, with its own government and a fledgling off-shore finance and E-commerce sector.
Joanna Parmentier is a local and she shared these 10 top facts about the island.
1. In World War II 1940 the whole of the Island’s residents were evacuated to Weymouth on the south coast of Great Britain and then relocated throughout Britain, as the islands could not be defended.
2. For the next 5 years, the island was turned into a concrete fortress – part of Hitler’s Atlantic wall.
3. ‘Aurigny’ is French for Alderney and lies only 8 miles from France, is only 3 miles long and 1½ miles at its widest.
4. Alderney’s most famous inhabitants are Blonde (yes Blonde!) Hedgehogs who supposedly hit the streets in the 1960s were transported to the island in a Harrods shopping bag!
5. The Romans used Alderney as a staging post-en-route from Brittany to Great Britain using Longis Bay as their harbour.
6. There are no traffic lights, no roundabouts and no traffic jams on Alderney and the speed limit is only 35mph.
7. Alderney has its own Orient Express – the famous Alderney railway is 150 years old and runs from the harbour up the scenic north coast and back again, a great trip for tourists visiting the island.
8. Famous residents have been author Elizabeth Beresford (the Wombles), cricketer Ian Botham, Beatles producer George Martin, actress Julie Andrews and swimmer Duncan Goodhew.
9. The Islanders are traditionally known as ‘lapins’ as there are so many rabbits on the island.
10. Alderney is a paradise for bird lovers with over 7000 Northern Gannet pairs resident in two breeding colonies immediately offshore, totalling approximately 2% of the world population. Arguably Les Estac is the most easily viewed colony in Europe. There are also Puffins, Dartford Warblers, Peregine and much more.