Come and explore forts and bunkers, see an ancient burial site dating back to the Neolithic period or visit the remains of an Iron Age pottery.
Alderney's unique position between the Normandy coast and England has shaped its history and at just 3.5 by 1.5 miles, wherever you are on the island you don't have to travel far to find the past.
One island, so many stories. It’s all here waiting to be discovered.
There is no doubt that like the other Channel Islands, Alderney was occupied by Neolithic man several thousand years ago. A burial chamber named Roc à l’Epine dating from 4,000 BC survives near Fort Tourgis, and Longis Common has remains of an Iron Age site. In 1832 a hoard of some 200 Bronze Age artefacts was discovered on Longis Common. This area is said to be the 'Old Town' which was buried under drifting sand.
Alderney’s Roman archaeology appears to be completely unique in the Channel Islands. It includes the best-preserved small Roman fort in Britain (now known as The Nunnery) which dates back to the 4th Century AD, along with the recent discovery of a nearby Roman settlement. Both of these are above the island's only natural harbour at Longis Bay and it is believed that the fort was probably built to guard the entrance to the bay.
The Victorian period brought huge change to Alderney and its landscape.
The island was heavily fortified by the British in response to the French extending the fortifications and harbour at Cherbourg, which seriously threatened Britain’s naval dominance in the English Channel and the country’s south coast harbours.
Eighteen forts and batteries were built to protect Alderney and the new 'harbour of refuge and observation', which was intended to be the base for a British fleet against any potential invasion by the French.
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The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall into enemy hands when they were occupied by German forces between 1940 and 1945. Following the mass evacuation of Alderney's population in June 1940 German soldiers took over the island and began to fortify it as part of Hitler's ‘Atlantic Wall’. Many of the coastal military zones and inland sites are still visible to this day. Thanks to the hard work of local historians and volunteers many areas have been cleared and are open to the public, allowing visitors a glimpse at what life would have been like during that period.Find out more
Alderney’s heritage has always been intrinsically linked to the sea. Its position proved ideal for merchants and privateers which brought great prosperity to the island, especially in the 18th century. But the islands powerful tides and a rocky coastline have claimed many fine ships over the centuries. One known as the Elizabethan wreck, which was first discovered in 1977 has many of its retrieved artefacts on display at the Alderney Museum. Another wreck, the SS Liverpool, a large four-mast sailing ship, hit rocks off Les Homeaux Florains in 1902 and this led to the building of Mannez Lighthouse which was completed in 1912.Find out more
European Atlantic Wall Network
During the Second World War Alderney was heavily fortified as part of the Hitler's 'Atlantic Wall', a 1700 mile long set of defence fortifications that stretched from Spain to North Norway.
The Alderney Society and Visit Alderney have recently joined the European Network ‘Atlantikwall Europe’ which brings together organisations from locations where there are remains of the Atlantic Wall. The aim is to commemorate this aspect of history and to preserve its heritage.