The Isle of Sark

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Sark is an island in the Channel Islands in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. It is a royal fief, which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. It has a population of about 500. Sark (including the nearby island of Brecqhou) has an area of 2.10 square miles (5.44 km2). Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. In 2011, Sark was designated as a Dark Sky Community and the first Dark Sky Island in the world.

history : In ancient times, Sark was almost certainly occupied by the Veneti. These people were subdued by the Roman Empire about 56 BC and the island annexed. After the Roman retreat during the fifth century AD, Sark was probably an outpost of one or other Breton-speaking kingdoms until 933, when it became part of the Duchy of Normandy. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the island was united with the Crown of England. In the thirteenth century, the French pirate Eustace the Monk, having served King John, used Sark as a base of operations.

During the Middle Ages, the island was populated by monastic communities. By the 16th century, however, the island was uninhabited and used by pirates as a refuge and base. In 1565, Helier de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen in Jersey, received letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I granting him Sark as a fief in perpetuity on condition that he kept the island free of pirates and occupied by at least forty men who were of her English subjects or swore allegiance to the Crown. This he duly did, leasing 40 parcels of land (known as “Tenements”) at a low rent to forty families, mostly from St. Ouen, on condition that a house was built and maintained on each parcel and that “the Tenant” provided one man, armed with a musket, for the defence of the island. The 40 tenements survive to this day, albeit with minor boundary changes. A subsequent attempt by the families to endow a constitution under a bailiff, as in Jersey, was stopped by the Guernsey authorities who resented any attempt to wrest Sark from their bailiwick.

Recent history : Further information: Sark during the German occupation of the Channel Islands In 1844, desperate for funds to continue the operation of the silver mine on the island, the incumbent Seigneur, Ernest le Pelley, obtained Crown permission to mortgage Sark’s fief to local privateer John Allaire. After the company running the mine went bankrupt, le Pelley was unable to keep up the mortgage payments and, in 1849, his son Pierre Carey le Pelley, the new Seigneur, was forced to sell the fief to Marie Collings for a total of £1,383 (£6,000 less the sum borrowed and an accumulated interest of £616.13s).

During World War II, the island, along with the other Channel Islands, was occupied by German forces between 1940 and 1945. German military rule on Sark began on 4 July 1940, the day after the Guernsey Kommandant Major Albrecht Lanz and his interpreter and chief of staff Major Maas visited the island to inform the Dame and Seigneur (Sibyl and Robert Hathaway) of the new regime. British Commandos raided the island several times, Operation Basalt during the night of 3–4 October 1942, captured a prisoner and Hardtack 7, was a failed British landing in December 1943. Sark was finally liberated on 10 May 1945, a full day after Guernsey.

Access : Sark is a 50 min boat trip from Guernsey . Sark Shipping operates the service with at least one sailing each morning and afternoon. Pre book or buy your tickets on the day. You can book online, but will still need to collect your tickets from the office. Return fares: Adults: £28.50, Children: £13.20, Infants go free, Students, £24.50.       Coordinates: 49.433056, -2.360833

When you arrive in Sark you can either walk up to the village, or take the ‘toast rack’ – a tractor pulled bus, which is £1.10 for adults and 55p for children. No tickets are issued, you simply hop on and pay. There are no cars on Sark and cycling is the best way to get around, you can hire bikes on The Avenue, so wear proper shoes. Horse and carriage rides are also available at the top of the hill and a offer a more leisurely way of seeing the island.

Access BY FERRY : Travelling from Guernsey to Sark / The Isle of Sark Shipping Company  provides the passenger ferry service from Guernsey . Travelling from Jersey to Sark . Manche Iles Express operate services from Granville and Carteret in Normandy to Sark, via Jersey, several times a week from April to September

Travelling from the UK : Condor Ferries operate a regular service between the UK departure ports of Poole and Portsmouth to Jersey and Guernsey, and St Malo in Brittany. The high speed ferry Condor Liberation operates from Poole, and conventional ships, the Goodwill and Clipper operate from Portsmouth.

BY AIR : Travelling by air to Guernsey or Jersey: / Via Guernsey: Aurigny Air www.aurigny.com ,FlyBe www.flybe.com / Via Jersey: ,Aerlingus , British Airways ,Easy Jet , Eurowings , Flyskywork , Lufthansa.

Attractions : 

  • La Coupee : A natural isthmus that joins the main island to Little Sark , La Seigneurie Gardens , Sark Museum ,part to the ‘dark skies’ status the island now enjoys, meaning it’s one of the best places in the world to view the night sky thanks to a very low level of light pollution , Avenue Cycle Hire , Fishing, Oyster Catcher, and Cormorants – all abound on Sark , birdwatching ,The famous Venus Pool and the relaxing formality of La Seigneurie Gardens , Carriage Ride
    Bird Watching , Pottery , Boat sightseeing tours, Wild Flower Walks ,Cycle Hire , Fishing Trips , La Seigneurie Gardens , Scuba Diving , Exploring Caves
    Sark Garden Walks, Old Windmill, Boat Charters to the nearby islands or France , A visit to the local Chocolate Factory, Tennis

Events : SARK SUMMER FESTIVAL : WHEN ? 06/07/2018 – 08/07/2018 12:00 – 18:00 / Food tents… craft stalls… yoga… choir singing… we’ll have lots of activities for adults and kids.

 

Go next : to Guernsey, but in summer you could take a ferry to Jersey / to Normandy.

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