Jersey has been battered, like most of the UK, with strong, gale force winter storms which left us scurrying for extra layers, to batten down the hatches and curl up by the fire to ride it out.
I have great joy at times of huge storms, I love the basics of nature at their best or at their worse; the lashing of rain or hail at the window, the sound of the wind roaring through the trees and grumbling when it hits the wall of our home, the loud crack of thunder and the vivid slash of lightening that follows.
But when all has quietened down, you’ll find me on the beach once more. I love the way that familiar beaches change with the storms and even the tides on a daily basis. Sand is washed away, stones are washed up on the beach in layers likes steps, and flotsam and jetsam abounds, athough I get cross by the amount of rubbish, much preferring the seaweeds, driftwood, cuttlefish bones and (yesterday) sea urchin instead.
Recent storms have uncovered a treasure on the beach at Le Port, St Ouen – a segment of an ancient submerged forest, which was created over seven thousand years ago. (Please take a look at Prehistoric Jersey for more info).
When you look at the surface you can see the dimpled marks of people and animals who have gone before us. Perhaps these are the remains of footprints from Neolithic farmers? Treasures like these really bring our history to life.
I was amazed to find a print of a cloven hoof cleared marked in the peat! (Thanks to to the wonder of Wikipedia I now know that sheep, deer, cows and goats are some of the animals sporting cloven hoofs).
The roots are especially clear in the soft underbelly of the peat too, but this section looks so vulnerable to erosion I hope it’s not too long before our tides cover the area in sand once more to provide some protection and preservation.
The beach at St Ouens is normally vast golden sands with a very small amount of flat, oval shaped pebbles of grey shale, but the pebbles uncovered at the minute are much more rotund and vibrant and in much larger numbers than I’ve seen here before.