See photos (5)

From the beach to Cape Ailly

in Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer
4.9 km
  • A quick hour-long walk to explore Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer.

  • A quick hour-long walk to explore Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer.
    Departing from the beach in Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer, this hike will lead you to Cape Ailly and its clifftop lighthouse. You will pass through Ailly Woods, one of the region’s three Special Areas of Conservation. Its subsoil and the species that populate it make this spot one-of-a-kind in Upper Normandy.
Points of interest
1 1
The loop begins on Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer Beach, by the Saâne River. Walk along the Route de la Mer towards Varengeville-sur-Mer, until you reach the cliff. The beach was the scene of the Anglo-Canadian raid of 19 August 1942, orchestrated for the purpose of landing on the Norman coast. A blockhouse which was part of the German defences still exists on the beach today.

From the beach, by the first cliffs, follow Chemin des Baies on your right, a grassy path leading away from the beach car park by the edge of town. When you reach the Bel Air flats, follow Rue aux Juifs for around 150 metres, and then take the rural track on your left towards the Fond des Pâtis.
2 2
At the end of the rural track, go right and walk along the Fond des Pâtis to discover Ailly Woods, its thalweg, its ferns and its typical wetland species. Hikes here are organized throughout the year. Stop by the Tourist Office for more information or take a look at our online calendar.
3 3
After a series of wooden bridges, stay on the main path on your right until you reach an intersection of forest tracks (identified by a wooden footbridge). Continue on the path to the left, until you reach another crossing. Here, you are in the heart of Cape Ailly’s Special Area of Conservation, a 60 hectare site that is unique in Upper Normandy, with extraordinary landscapes, flora and fauna.

At this point, you have two choices. To your left, you can discover Ailly Lighthouse and panoramic views of the hog’s-back cliffs (called frettes) which are typical of the cape, by following the Chemin du Sémaphore. The lighthouse is a 20th century structure rising 19.5 metres in the air.
4 4
To your right, you can explore the site along the coastal trail (GR21), over a distance of around 1.5 kilometres. Along the way, you will discover multiple short-lived ponds and a wide variety of forest trees (oak, sweet chestnut, holly, beech, aspen, pine and more). Lastly, you can admire the Château de la Tour on your right. This superb property, named after its former owner, dates from the 17th to 18th centuries.

5 5
Cross the Route de la Mer to see Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer Church.
A listed Historic Monument since 1921, it was built in the 12th century and remains one of only a handful of Romanesque churches still in existence in Normandy. Finally, take Chemin du Presbytère, a no through road, to the right of the church and follow it through grazing meadows all the way to the beach parking lot.
120 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 12 m
  • End altitude : 12 m
  • Maximum altitude : 91 m
  • Minimum altitude : 12 m
  • Total positive elevation : 120 m
  • Total negative elevation : -120 m
  • Max positive elevation : 19 m
  • Min positive elevation : -40 m