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St Andrew's

St Andrew’s is the only parish in Guernsey which has no coast. It shares borders with St Saviour’s, Castel, St Peter Port, Vale, St Martin’s and Forest. Despite its lack of beaches, it still has a great deal of beautiful scenery with scenic valleys, traditional buildings, fields and woodland. It is also home to some of Guernsey’s biggest tourist attractions; the Little Chapel and the Underground Hospital.

The Little Chapel was started in 1914 by Brother Deodat, who was a French monk. He lived at Les Vauxbelets and helped look after the school and farm there. He planned to make a smaller version of the grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. The Chapel is made of tiny pieces of broken pottery,pebbles and sea shells. It is thought to be one of the smallest churches in the world. The Little Chapel is now looked after by Blanchelande Girls' College, which is also in the grounds of Les Vauxbelets Valley.

The Underground Military Hospital is a network of tunnels, chambers and ventilation shafts which were dug out by slaveworkers during World War Two. It is the largest remaining construction from World War Two in the Channel Islands and the tunnels cover an area of 7000 square metres. The tunnels were dug out by slave workers from Algeria, Belgium, France, Guernsey, Holland, Morocco, Russia and Spain. The slave workers from Guernsey refused to help after six Frenchmen were killed by a rockslide. The tunnels have been open to the public since 1954.

St Andrew’s Parish Church is one of the island’s smallest churches. It was originally known as St Andre de la Pommeray (St Andrew of the Apple Orchard) as much of St Andrew’s was covered in Apple Orchards, with cider-making a big business. The Twelfth century church sits near a spring which people believed could cure them of illness.

The Chapel of Christ the Healer at Le Monnaie was built in the 1950s, when a reverend saw a vision. His son was suffering from cancer and he said that God told him to build the tiny church which holds only 40 people. The chapel is now used as a place of comfort for those with medical problems or in stressful situations. On Wednesday mornings, islanders gather there to offer prayers for the sick, the laying on of hands and Holy Communion.

St Andrew’s is packed with scenic valleys and beautiful countryside. Cows graze at Les Vauxbelet surrounded by rural views. Talbot Valley is Guernsey’s biggest valley and it offers stunning views of fields and woodland. The Ron Short Walk is dedicated to a past Chairman of the National Trust of Guernsey, it has spectacular views over the Talbot Valley.

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  126k v. 1 12 Apr 2011, 06:32 katie Beavan