This is a great site to explore, although beware of disturbing anyone renting out the tower. In the winter months it's less likely that anyone will be home, and there are fewer weeds to battle through. So, a nice late winter day is the time of choice.
If you can make your way to the corner of La Blinerie lane, head up the very obvious footpath up the signposted NT(J) hillside...
.. and a dolmen is waiting for you (see www.prehistoricjersey.net/Le_Mont_Ube.shtml). If you prefer your history to be mid 20th century, jog on through the woodland to the left of the field between the dolmen and the tower...
There may still be a rope swing to amuse any little ones you may have with you. Keep going, taking the high path nearerst the field above. First you'll easily see a half buried bunker entrance.
Next, close by and again right by the path, something really rather unusual for Jersey woodland. Some kind of hybrid shelter/observation post?
Without all the trees around here, there would be a view of the flat land at Longueville which could conceivably have been a potential parachuting landing area?
Inside, turning left after entering, the usual evidence of al fresco alcohol consumption..
.. looking back to the way in. A ground collapse has blocked the other entrance.
If you keep on going, taking the high path to the right, you'll eventually emerge in the Nicolle Tower's field, along the access track to the tower. And what a site it is up here! This south-east shot shows the inland light (1896) further along Mont Ube, and you'll see a Conway tower at Platte Rocque, Seymour Tower out at sea, and Normandy coastline in the distance.
To the west, views over the land reclamation at La Collette, all the way to Noirmont headland with its own Martello-like Tower.
So here's the tower, a folly that can be rented from the Landmark Trust (see the page at www.landmarktrust.org.uk), this side is what guests first see as they drive along the track towards it...
From the field, observe a bit of a dip in the corner of the hedge on the left...
.. oooh, looks bunkery...
... at the bottom the the steps, enter and turn right...
.. a domestic door looks amusingly out of place!
The other side (it's not locked), blocked off steps that would have led to access near the tower's door. On the right from this shot (eastwards)...
.. a wriggly tin shelter. So if the occupying forces came under attack, they could leg it out of the tower, straight down the steps and dive left into the safety of this space.
Any other concrete up here? Oh yes! Head over the field in front of the tower... not much to be seen at first sight...
.. but then there is! This is, apparently, more of a contender for the Obs Post for the nearby batterie Seeckt than the tower itself.
Looking back to the tower.
Inside, it's a steep climb down, too much for my creaking old legs, stressed as they are from supporting my obesity :)
Without 70 years worth of tree growth up here, this position would have been adequate for great sea views.
A couple of lesser known items, then. Not far from the dolmen, if you venture into private land you would easilly find the rusting remains of a Pak (field gun) emplacement, of the sort housed in a fake summer house...
And finally, there's a shelter so well hidden, I can't imagine many people will have seen it at all. It's on the bend of the track in the tower's field. You would need to climb up a couple of feet of bank, make your way along and push through bushes to find this entrance...
.. we're looking southwards here.
The shelter itself heads off to the right, westwards, right underneath the track. Bonus points to anyone who crawls in and puts the first photos online! Shane? :)
A good historical walk up here, wouldn't you say? Have fun!
The 319 Infantry Division Battery Seeckt was just north of Rue au Blancq, over the fields from the present day estate Clos de Roncier (which was built on the site of a wartime camp for Russian forced labour, Lager Rommel). The whole site is private land, but I took it upon myself to pay a respectful visit (no damage caused) so that you don't have to :)
Thanks to the CIOS, a map shows the layout. The big arrow points to Nicolle Tower, where the obs post for this battery is in a hedge over a field from the tower. The four 10cm field guns (9.7km range) appear to have been positioned in the fields, no concrete involved.
The three O-with-an-arrow symbols were the 2cm flak guns, at least two of these were on concrete structures which remain today. The one right next to the lane is completely buried, if there was every anything there. The other two symbols mark the position of defensive light machine guns.
A map from the present day.
Heading down a track, from our starting point at the housing estate, we eventually reached what we were aiming for - a big wide hedge in the center of this flat area (looking south-east in this shot, towards the lane)...from recent experience this can only mean one thing - a farmer won't want to waste a scrap of land without good reason...
.. and voila, there's concrete there.
Inside, a collection of agri-junk, and interesting paintwork.
If you decide to scramble upwards...
.. this is getting interesting!
Nice, a protected flak gun emplacement.
Some original woodwork survives to this day.
The trapezoid shaped gun mount... and around to the left...
.. watch out, something felt odd underfoot here, could be a rotten board over a drop, or maybe not.
A little more to the left, looking back towards the steps.
Looking left over the fields over towards the Clos de Roncier.
Heading West, over the next field, and near some houses, an old ablutions block in the corner has lost its roof...
.. not much to see in there.
Same structure, from a little farther along the side of the field - from right next to...
.. another wide hedge, hiding more concrete.
Two rooms down there. From the map above, it seems one of the flak guns was on the flat roof here.
The other room. It would have been a bit of a dirty scramble to get down there, too much for my old legs at the time.
So, now you've seen it, you don't need to go along yourself.... you've seen it all before out west anyway :)
On a previous posting, JB kindly commented : "please be aware the owner of the land lives in the house overlooking it and he doesn't want visitors. I interviewed him a few years ago and he said too many dog walkers had ruined it for everyone. You may be interested to know that there were 3 such positions, part of another survives and it looks suspiciously like the remains of another is also buried there.
A small toilet/wash room remains also but is in terrible condition.
The flak position is indeed unique as it has a crew room underneath, mostly built in red brick...Batterie Ludendorf has 2 similar Flak positions but no crew rooms under them." - thank you JB!
My pics? What can I say... but that there are two types of photographers : artists and recordists. I'm a recordist - for me it's a technical challenge to try to capture what the eye sees, rather than what the imagination sees. I'm no artist.
My camera is good enough for the web, I'm not interested in spending a fortune on DSLR and lenses, mucking about in pic editors, filters and all that malarkey.
I'm also driven to share, publish, and show things to people when they're interested in specific things - like island scenery. If I was into art, I'd despair at just how much there is out there already, and how difficult it would be to find an audience because no-one has time to wade through billions of pretty pictures.
If you want to see what Jersey looks like, then hang around here and I'll do my best to show you. Thanks!