La Vallette bathing pools
The bathing pools at La Vallette, close to Havelet Bay were built in 1844 to compensate for the loss of beaches caused by the expansion of St Peter Port harbour. It took almost 100 years for permanent changing rooms were installed, which finally arrived in the 1930s.
Originally the three pools were for men, women and children separately, although now they are known as the children’s, gents’ and horseshoe pools.
There is no chlorine in the pools as they are filled by the sea at high tide. As a result, there are also stones and sometimes seaweed in them and they are occasionally damaged in fierce storms.
They arguably have one of the best swimming views in the world, with the hill of Clarence Battery to one side and Castle Cornet and the Castle Breakwater the other.
Although it would be convenient for his work at The Sarnian, Oliver Carey chooses not to swim on the pools, preferring the secluded waters of the sea at Marble Bay. As explained in book 1, Dead in the Water,
He could have swum in Town, of course, up on the hill at Beau Sejour, or outside by the castle in the pools at La Vallette, but in both of those places he’d have to wear shorts, and his father had taught him to swim in the nude. It felt constricting to truss himself up in the water.
Elsewhere, Remus Carey takes Marc Renouf to Havelet Bay, close to the pools, on the Huffin’ Puffin, but refers to the area as Cowhorn, the fishermen’s name for the area.
The outdoor bathing pools are no longer as popular as they once were, as there is now an indoor pool at Beau Sejour.
The pools feature in the following 13 minute documentary by Guernsey-born Tim Bowditch.