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Castel is the largest parish in Guernsey. On the west coast of Guernsey, it is probably best known for its stunning beaches and it hosts the North Show and Battle of Flowers in August every year.

The site where Castel Church is built was originally a Roman Fort which was called 'chastel' or castle.  Historians think this is where the name Castel comes from.   There are roman tiles in the east wall, and a 'hypocaust'  (an ancient Roman system of central heating) was found in the centre of the church in the last century. The church has a good views across the island.   Outside the main door there is a female Neolithic statue menhir (a large upright standing stone) She was found under the church floor in 1878, after Christians took over the pagan site.  She looks like she is wearing a crown, veil and a long necklace.

Castel has a good choice of beaches which are popular with locals and tourists.  Many of the beaches are joined by coastal paths.  
Vazon is the most popular beach for surfing with it's strong Atlantic waves.  It is also one of Guernsey's largest beaches at lowtide and the large stretch of sand make it popular with families.  Vazon is now home to Guernsey surf school.  Vazon is also home to the sand racing once a month when racing cars and motorbikes race around on the sand at low tide. 

Fort Hommet is on the north headland of Vazon.  It was built in Victorian times to defend the island against the French.   It was used, and added to, by the Germans during world war two.  The nearby bunker was part of a chain of westcoast German defences.   The fort was restored in the 1980s.

Cobo is one of Guernsey's most popular beaches, with golden sand and beautiful sunsets- it's popular pub, the Rockmount gets very busy on sunny evenings when people sit outside on the sea wall.  There is also a hotel, Cobo tea-rooms, Cobo village centre, supermarket, bank and a surgery.  There is a rock a mile off shore called Grosse Rocque which has had a Guernsey flag flying on it since May 9th 1945. Further along Grandes Rocques beach has fine sand and good rockpools and is popular with windsurfers and families.

Other parish beaches inlude:
  • Albecq
  • L'Estrainfer
  • Long Port
  • part of Port Soif

Le Guet is a wooded area covered in pine trees on the hill above Cobo. Situated amongst the pine trees at the top of the hill is a watchtower which gives beautiful views over the west coast. Did you know that ‘Le Guet’ is French for watch?
The watch tower was built to give warning of French invasion. Near the watch tower there is a gun battery and a beacon to be lit if the enemy was sighted. In 1939 an air raid siren was put in here and it sounded in 1940 when the Germans bombed the island.

Saumarez Park is the largest public park in Guernsey. Its attractions include the National Trust Folk museum, an adventure playground, a Japanese walk and fishing hut, formal gardens and tearooms. Saumarez park also hosts the North Show and Battle of Flowers , La Viaer Marchi, the donkey derby and many other events.
Saumarez park was the family home of Admiral Lord James Saumarez  who was well- known for his distinguished naval career alongside Horatio Nelson. The Folk & Costume Museum in Saumarez Park is the focal point for National Trust Guernsey and it shows what Guernsey was like in the past. Special displays teach visitors about life in the home, local industries, farming and fishing many years ago.

As well as stunning beaches, Castel has rich countryside and valleys. Kings Mills was an important centre for milling. It used to be one of the largest settlements on the island. Running water was the main source of power in Guernsey for centuries. There were six mills in the Talbot and Fauxquet valleys. Talbot valley is the biggest valley in Guernsey and is one of the island’s most breathtaking pieces of countryside.

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  92k v. 1 16 Feb 2011, 13:46 katie Beavan