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St Martin's

Steep cliffs, Stunning beaches and wild countryside make up the parish of St Martin's. The parish is on the south-east corner of Guernsey.   It borders the Forest on the southwest, Saint Andrew's northwest, and Saint Peter Port on the northeast. The parish also has a small part in the west which is seperate.

St Martin's is the second highest parish in Guernsey, the highest parish is Forest. The steep cliffs give walkers beautiful views over the beaches. The population of St Martin's is approximately 8267. The old Guernésiais nickname for people from Saint Martin is dravans which means rayfish. St Martin's is one of the most expensive parishes to live in in Guernsey and it is a popular place to live for people working in town.

Some of Guernsey's most scenic beaches are in St Martin's. If you have ever been down to Petit Port you will know that there are lots of steps. You have to climb down 270 steps to get to the beach and it's worse coming back up! Moulin Huet is a stunning beach which was a favourite of the artist Renoir and led him to paint a series of landscapes in the mid-1880s. Find out more about Renoir in the art section. Fermain is a pebble beach with a platform to swim out to. There used to be a boat from St Peter Port to Fermain. Other beaches in St Martin's include; Saint's bay, Divette and Marble Bay.
Which is your favourite beach?

Standing at the entrance of St Martin's parish church is La Gran'mere du Chimquiere, the grandmother of the cemetery. She is a menhir which is a large upright standing stone and she is over 4,500 years old. It is thought that the original stone was carved in pre-christian times and then later hair or a headress were added. It is thought that she was significant before the Christian's arrived and built the church that stands there today. Can you see a large crack down the middle of her? Apparently she was smashed in two by a church warden who didn't like the idea of a pagan stone being on the site of a Christian church. Angry parishioners cemented the halves back together. Today people getting married often put flowers around the Gran'mere's neck for good luck and fertility.

St Martin's is home to the island's only stately home, Sausmarez Manor. Part of the house dates back to the late 12th century but it has seen many changes over the years. The Sausmarez family had an interesting military and naval past which played an important part in Guernsey's history. Phillip de Sausmarez is probably the most famous de Saumarez. He sailed around the world 20 Years before Captain Cook and helped to capture the world’s richest treasure ship. He also designed the first naval uniform. He was tragically blown up by a french cannonball. His nephew James Saumarez became a distinguished Admiral and Baron who was one of Nelson's band of brothers. Sausmarez Manor is still lived in by the de Sausmarez family today. The house is open to visitors with a sculpture trail, gardens, a cafe, a putting green and a shop. It is also home to a thriving farmers market in the summer.

Every year at around the start of April, the woods and cliff paths in St Martin’s spring into bloom with a carpet of bluebells. These blue flowers are a sign that spring is here and summer is coming.

Jerbourg point is on the south-eastern edge of the island. From the point there are good views of Jersey, Alderney, Herm and Sark. The Doyle Column is a monument to General Sir John Doyle who was Guernsey’s governor from 1802 to 1813 after a distinguished career with the army. See Doyle column from a satellite here.

In St Martin's parish centre you will find a post office, chemist, doctors surgery, hairdresser, food and clothes shops, gift shops, bakery, cafes, banks and a garage.
There are lots hotels and restaurants in St Martin's. Many of them have beautiful sea views. Do you live in St Martin's? What is special about your parish? What is the best thing about living in St Martin's?

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  122k v. 1 16 Feb 2011, 13:51 katie Beavan