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Forest is the highest parish in Guernsey and it includes Guernsey’s highest point. Some parts of the parish are up to 100 metres above sea level. It borders St Martin’s in the East, St Andrew’s in the North, St Saviour’s in the North-west and St Peter’s in the West. The highest point in Guernsey is Hautnez by the airport which is 111 metres above sea level. See it on a map.

Did you ever wonder where the parish of Forest got its name? The land in Forest was once heavily covered in trees. Today there are not so many trees but there are still some areas of beautiful woodland. The population of Forest is just over 1,500 people so it is one of the least populated parishes. The old Guernesiais nickname for people who were from the Forest was bourdaons which means bumblebees.

The island’s only airport is in Forest. Opened in 1939, it was used by the invading Germans in world war two. The old terminal was demolished and a new one was opened in 2004. The building won the ‘Guernsey Design Award in November 2005. Facilities for passengers include an internet café, a fair-trade store, a duty free shop as well as a café. Flights run regularly to England, France, Jersey and Alderney. There are also charter flights to other locations. Did you know that the airport runway covers three parishes so people arriving in Guernsey by plane may have been in Forest, St Saviour's and St Andrew's before even getting off the plane!

Forest is mainly made up of cliffs but it does have some beaches. Petit Bôt is a popular beach for families as it is one of the few beaches that you can drive down to. Portlet beach can only be reached by the sea. You can swim there from Petit Bôt or get there by boat. The valley to the south of Petit Bot is called Le Gouffre (the abyss). It has some of Guernsey's best views and it is home to a fleet of small fishing boats. A winch, used to drag the boats up the cliffs on a pair of wooden rails, stands on top of the moorings. Years ago donkeys were used to carry fish and equipment from the mooring to Le Gouffre.

Petit Bot is one of Guernsey’s most popular beaches. There is a Napoleonic tower overlooking the beach which was built around 1780 to protect the island from attacks from the sea. Two mills were built in the valley to make use of the water that rushes down the gully. There used to be a hotel overlooking the beach but it was demolished by the German forces in 1940. There is now a café in the spot where the hotel used to be. The top half is mainly pebbles but at low tide there is a beautiful stretch of sand. The beach has caves to explore and streams which are perfect for making dams.

Forest has the smallest parish church in Guernsey. Ste Marguerite de la Foret was built in the 13th century. It originally had two entrances, one for men and the other for women. On the walls there are huge stones which were once part of a dolmen. The church tower has four bells and a clock which was installed as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The graveyard may have been an early burial ground.

In the lanes behind the parish church you find German Occupation Museum. The museum gives a picture of life in Guernsey during the German Occupation from 1940 to 1945. It began as a collection of war-time souvenirs collected by some schoolboy friends. The leader of the group, Richard Heaume became so interested in German military artifacts that he needed a museum to house them all in. Now exhibits include a field kitchen, an authentic occupation street, uniforms, vehicles, bunker rooms and a cinema.

Forest road links the airport to St Peter Port. Forest’s amenities include a chip shop, garage, schools, food shop and a four-screen cinema.
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  105k v. 1 16 Feb 2011, 13:47 katie Beavan