Devil's Hole – St Mary, Jersey - Atlas Obscura
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St Mary, Jersey

Devil's Hole

This natural crater along the coast of Jersey may take its name from the devil statues who have watched over it. 

There is a natural crater along the north coast of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France. It wasn’t caused by a meteorite, but most likely by the collapse of a cave thousands of years ago. At the top there is a bronze namesake of a statue, to guide you down the trail to the Devil’s Hole.

The Hole is about 100 feet in diameter, and 200 feet deep. The constant smashing of the waves makes it into a kind of blowhole, complete with eerie sucking sounds as the water is pulled down and out into the Channel. It was originally called Le Creux de Vis, or the Spiral Hollow, but sometime around 1850 or so the name was changed.

How it got to be called the Devil’s Hole is the source of some speculation and debate. Some say it’s the strange sounds made by the waves, but the story most often told goes like this:

It was about 1851 when a ship’s carved figurehead was found bobbing up and down inside Le Creux de Vis. The story isn’t exactly clear on where it came from—some say it was from a French shipwreck—or how it managed to hit a perfect bullseye and land in the crater. A local craftsman is said to have taken the figure home, fixed it up, added horns, and placed it back along the rim of the basin. From then on, it’s been called the Devil’s Hole.

Being made of wood, such a figure couldn’t survive the harsh elements of the Jersey coast, so over the years, replacement devils have been swapped in. The current devil is weathered bronze, a somewhat spooky guide that stands in an algae-covered pool along the top of the trail.

As part of the National Trust for Jersey’s protected lands, the area around the Devil’s Hole and the path to get there has been stabilized in recent years, and a viewing platform has been added for a birds-eye view. It’s surrounded by pasture with grazing sheep, so as you make your way down the path be careful to close any gates behind you. And leave the wooly creatures alone—the statue is scary enough without more little devils to watch out for.

Know Before You Go

Access to the Devil’s Hole is either from the trail head at the Priory Inn (use La Grande Rue or Le Chemin des Hougues to get to the Inn), or you can walk there along the cliff path.

It's about a 10 or 15 minute hike to get down, and on the way to the hole you'll be heading downhill (some of the path is fairly steep). So keep in mind that it's an uphill climb to come back. There are benches along the way, some informational signage about the area, and a viewing platform above the Hole itself.