Banner image: Jersey orchid Anacamptis laxiflora. By Rolf Thum - eigene Aufnahme von Rolf Thum, CC BY-SA 3.0, Source.

The Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency, an independently administered jurisdiction, neither part of the UK nor the European Union. The UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defence and international representation.

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
A major feature of Jersey is extreme tidal range, so that its area at low-water is hugely larger than at high-water. A part of this range is illustrated as the members of the UKOTCF conference there in 2006, while on their site-visit, pass intertidal rocks much taller themselves, but which are covered at high-water. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is situated in the Bay of Mont St Michel, and is little more than 20 km from the northwest coast of Normandy, France, at 49 15 N, 2 10 W.

It has a land area of 117 square kilometres. The underlying geology is largely granite and shale. The overlying soils vary between areas of clay, sandy loess, and alluvium with acid soils, particularly over the granite. The climate is milder than that of the British Isles, with mean temperatures of 7°C in January and 18°C in August. Summers are generally warm and dry, with the occasional drought. Winters are usually mild, but with frosts in some years. The island slopes from a height of 153 m on the north coast to 60 m above mean sea level in the south.

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Jersey has a varied countryside of town, villages, farmland, heaths, cliffs and sandy beaches, with (below) characteristic banked roads and tracks. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Jersey has designated four largely intertidal Ramsar Sites:

  • South-east Coast of Jersey
  • Les Écréhous & Les Dirouilles
  • Les Minquiers
  • Les Pierres de Lecq (the Paternosters)
Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Within the South-east Coast of Jersey Wetland of International Importance: (above) after a long walk at low-water, visitors reach one of the tiny islets which hold a small fort from the time of the Napoleonic Wars; (below) mussel beds. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

In addition to the inter-tidal zone, important habitats include dunes in the west and coastal heath-land on the southwest and north coasts.

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Heathland and cliffs.  Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Additional planning protection is provided for the large, relatively undeveloped western coastal plain and scarp slopes. As well as the dunes and dune grassland, the area contains the largest natural fresh-water body in the island: St Ouens Pond which is 4.5 ha, surrounded by 9.0 ha of reed beds.  The associated wet meadows, with a rich orchid flora; loose-flowered or Jersey orchid (see banner image at top) and the dune grassland make this an exceptionally rich area botanically.

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Above: aerial view of proposed Wetland of International Importance at St Ouens Pond and surrounding wet meadows. Below: ground level view, with two marsh harriers hunting over the reed-beds.  Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Financial services, agriculture, and tourism are the main areas of economic interest. The island’s population density is double that of England and a quarter less than Guernsey (97,857 in 2011, with approximately 600,000 visitors per year, with 20% of the area urban). The area of farmland is 54% of the Island, and a still considerable area (26% of the land) of semi-natural habitats. Jersey is extremely well connected to the outside world, because of the needs of the finance industry and tourism. Source: CIA Worldfactbook

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Jersey has many historic buildings, from the Second World War (above) back to old churches (below) and beyond. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski

Jersey’s geographical position partly explains the large number (33) of UK Red Data Book species supported. Species include four reptiles (two lizards, the green (pictured) and wall, not found in the UK), two amphibians (including the agile frog, which is not found in the UK), the red squirrel, several invertebrates rare or not recorded in UK e.g. Jersey tiger moth, and a rich orchid and lichen flora, not to mention the rich marine life, such as red starfish.

Male western green lizard Lacerta bilineata, L’Ouaisné Common, Jersey Photograph- Paul Edgar

Above: Male western green lizard at L’Ouaisné Common, Jersey. Copyright: Paul Edgar/ARC. Below: Agile frog. Copyright Piers Sangan/Sangan Island Conservation.

Jersey agile frog

Learn more about Jersey by visiting the UKOTCF Jersey Virtual Tour (opens in new window).

Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski
Herring gulls feed on the shore. Copyright: Dr Mike Pienkowski