It is not only the glory of wild flowers and dramatic scenery that makes Sark unique. The unrivalled peace and quiet is protected by the population of sturdy individuals who live on the island. There are no cars allowed to pollute the air and deaden the ears. On the plateau above the cliffs the usual means of transport is bicycle or horse and carriage. There is tractor-drawn transport up the steep Harbour Hill, but tractors may not carry passengers beyond the crossroads at the crest. Visitors may walk, or cycle, but most day visitors choose to see around the island behind a horse.
Painters and photographers enjoy the sweeping views of the coast from Les Banquettes, La Coupée or any of the many headlands which look out on to the curves of the bays, the stretches of sand and multi-coloured rocks and the translucent sea.
Walkers enjoy the cliff paths which give the same magnificent vistas combined with gentle exercise. Others climb down to the beaches to paddle, swim, build castles and investigate the many caves tunnelling into the cliffs. Divers visit to explore underwater, where clear seas make it easy to see the tremendous variety of marine life. You can be lazy or energetic, or combine the two.
After a day in pristine fresh air, visitors and locals alike will find a restaurant for an evening meal. Sark is lucky, having local fish and shellfish, lamb, pork, beef and vegetables to provide a basis for the excellent chefs who work in the hotels and restaurants. The island butter is legendary, being a rich yellow, as is the local cream. Milk is produced by the local diary herd.
Going out for a meal on a summer evening is quite an experience. Some hire a carriage, but many walk, enjoying the honeysuckle scented air and the all-pervading quiet. After dinner, the walk home is often under a blaze of stars. There are no street lights on Sark so torches are recommended! The full glory of the Milky Way, the Plough and the North Star are plain to see.
On moonlit nights, the shadows lie black across the lanes and there may be a moon path over the sea to the distant lights of Guernsey, Jersey, or even France, across the water. In 2011 Sark became the world’s first designated ‘Dark Sky Island’ due to its lack of light pollution. The island now has its very own observatory, and celebrates with Starfests.
Sark has its own Heritage Room and restored Cider Press Barn, windmill, Occupation Museum, Henge, ancient dolmen, chocolate kitchen, Arts Cooperative, RAMSAR protected headland, as well as countless beaches, caves, arches and rock formations to explore. Not to be missed are the gardens at La Seigneurie; some of the most impressive in the Channel Islands, and La Coupée, the natural isthmus joining Big and Little Sark. Adventure Sark take visitors on stunning kayaking tours around the island as well as offering coasteering for the more daring!
Throughout Sark’s year, there are many local events. Wildflowers are celebrated in April and May with guided walks. There is the Good Friday sailing of model boats on the Beauregard pond, dating from at least the 19th century, and the Liberation Day celebrations, dating from 1945. In the summer, there is the ever-popular Folk Festival, the Sheep Races, and the Dog and Pet show. Later in the year there is the Autumn Garden and Produce show, the Roots Festival based on permaculture and wellbeing, and in December carol singing and Christmas fairs. There are courtyard and street markets as well as creative weekends. All season there are guided nature and history walks on offer.Whether you are a parent wishing to give your children an old-fashioned ‘Famous Five’ type of experience, a lover of nature, a star-gazer, someone with a creative nature or you simply want to get away from it all then Sark is for you. It is a truly magical, unique place, quite unlike anywhere else and is well worth a visit. It may well just cast its spell…
For more information please contact the Sark Visitor Centre – 01481 832345, email [email protected] or visit the web site www.sark.co.uk for how to get here, where to stay and the latest news and events calendar.
Boats to Sark go from St Peter Port in Guernsey. Tickets can be booked at sarkshippingcompany.gg
Other useful websites are Sark’s Government sarkgov.co.uk
Sark School www.sarkschool.co.uk
Adventure Sark www.adventuresark.com