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Aerial view of Alderney, Burhou top right
Aerial view of Alderney, Burhou top right
Waters English Channel
Archipelago Channel Islands
Geographical location 49 ° 42 '54 "  N , 2 ° 12' 1"  W Coordinates: 49 ° 42 '54 "  N , 2 ° 12' 1"  W
Location of Alderney
length 5.8 km
width 2.3 km
surface 7.8 km²
Highest elevation 90  m
Residents 2020 (2015)
259 inhabitants / km²
main place Saint Anne
Map of Alderney (1890)
Map of Alderney (1890)

Alderney [ ˈɔːldənɪ ] ( French Aurigny , Auregnais : Aoeur'gny ) is the northernmost of the Channel Islands off the French coast and belongs to the bailiwick (bailiwick) of Guernsey . The Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom still crown colonies, but as Kronbesitzungen (English crown dependencies : bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey) reports directly to the British Crown.

The island has a maximum length of about six kilometers and a maximum width of more than two kilometers. With an area of ​​7.8 km², it is the third largest channel island. It is located about 15 kilometers west of the Cap de la Hague on the Norman Cotentin Peninsula , 32 kilometers northeast of Guernsey and 95 kilometers south of Great Britain and is the only one of the Channel Islands that is not in the Bay of Saint-Malo , but in the English Channel itself .

Alderney is home to around 2,000 people who are traditionally nicknamed lapins (French rabbits ), as they are the predominant animals on the island. The capital and only municipality on the island is Saint Anne . There is a primary school, a secondary school, a post office, hotels, restaurants, banks and shops. Alderney is a popular place to live, especially among retirees, which is why the average age of the population is quite high.


Alderney is structured similar to the rest of the Channel Islands; steep cliffs alternate with beaches and dunes. The climate is mild and balanced due to the sea. Summers are usually warmer than anywhere else in the British Isles . The island has a rich flora , although it is more sparse than on the other, more sheltered Channel Islands in the Gulf of Saint-Malo. The most common bird species are alken birds . The blonde hedgehog is a variant of the Western European hedgehog that is only native to Alderney .

The island is surrounded by rocks with hundreds of shipwrecks lying in front of them. There are treacherous tidal currents on both sides of the island; the swing between Alderney and Burhou (a rocky island in front of the harbor) and La Raz in Longis Bay. The Strait of Alderney lies between Alderney and France .


Originally, all of the Channel Islands were part of the Duchy of Normandy . In 1066, Duke William the Conqueror conquered England and was crowned its king. The Channel Islands remained in royal possession even after England lost control of Normandy in 1204.

Breakwater at Braye Bay (designed by James Walker)
Flag of Alderney
Alderney Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms

Alderney developed slowly and has long been a secluded place. This changed in the 19th century when the British government decided to build large fortifications and a strategic port on the island in order to prevent any attacks from France . The many English and Irish workers as well as the large British garrison garrison led to the rapid Anglicization of Alderney. The harbor was never completed, the breakwaters designed by engineer James Walker are now one of the island's attractions.

When an invasion of the German Wehrmacht was imminent during the Second World War , the entire island population was hastily evacuated to England and especially to Scotland in 1940. A few days later, residents of Guernsey fetched about 370 cows of the Alderney breed that had been left behind. Shortly afterwards the Wehrmacht occupied the island. The Germans operated three labor camps and one concentration camp on Alderney , the so-called Sylt camp . The concentration camp prisoners and forced laborers were used to build bunkers and other fortifications .

As of September 1944, Alderney was cut off from all supply deliveries. Not only all trees, but also house doors, window frames and stairs were used as heating and fuel. On May 16, 1945 (a week later than the other Channel Islands) Alderney was liberated without a fight. After the British military and 500 German prisoners of war freed the island from mines, about 2/3 of the islanders returned in December 1945. As the economic outlook was assessed pessimistically, Alderney became part of the Bailiwick Guernsey in 1948, within which the island enjoys limited independence. In this context, Alderney had to undertake to levy the same taxes as Guernsey.

In the period between 1950 and 1963, the British and Belgian governments dumped around 28,500 barrels (17,244 tons) of low-level radioactive waste in the Hurd's Deep underwater ditch to the northwest of the island .


Auregnais , the local Norman dialect, has died out. Also, French is no longer spoken on the island, it lost its status as an official language in 1966. This has to do with the fact that the population who had been brought to England during the Second World War spoke almost only English after their return . Most place and field names are still French.

Alderney has been a popular travel destination since the 19th century because of its quiet, secluded atmosphere. Celebrity visitors include writers Victor Hugo , Terence Hanbury White and Elizabeth Beresford , cricketer Ian Botham and actress Julie Andrews .

Alderney Week takes place at the beginning of August with numerous cultural and sporting events.


Clonque Bay
Fort Clonque
  • Arch Bay
  • Braye Bay
  • Clonque
  • Corblets
  • Longis Bay
  • Plate saline
  • Saye
  • Telegraph Bay


Alderney lighthouse
Course of the railway line on a map of the island

Ship and air traffic

Ferries run to Cherbourg and the other Channel Islands.

In 1912 the lighthouse was built near the northeast tip of the island with a height of 32 meters. Electrically operated from 1976 and completely automated since 1997, it was converted to LED lights in 2011 and has been operated with a reduced range since then.

In 1935, the Channel Islands' first land-based airport was built on Alderney, southwest of Saint Anne . It is still used today for regional traffic with connections to Guernsey and Southampton and is currently (2016) exclusively served by the Guernsey-based airline Aurigny Air Services . Other flight routes, e.g. B. Bournemouth , Brighton , Plymouth , Exeter , Jersey and Cherbourg , were discontinued for lack of profitability.

The Alderney Railway

The Alderney Railway celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1997 as the only railway company in the Channel Islands. It connects the northeast (quarries, Mannez Quarry and Mannez lighthouse) with the port in 15 minutes. Built in the 1840s for the British Government ( Admiralty ) to build the breakwaters and fortifications, the line opened in 1847. The first official passengers were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the occasion of their visit to Alderney in 1854. For this event, a locomotive tender was converted into a carriage and then pulled over the route by horses. People have also been transported since the 1970s, initially with a steam locomotive . The current diesel locomotive (Vulcan Drewry 0-4-0, "Elizabeth") usually pulls two former London Underground cars from 1959 with aluminum cladding (the predecessors had to be scrapped because of rust from the salty air). The vehicle park also includes another locomotive and six small railroad cars. A special feature is that there are lifebuoys in the locomotive , which were introduced after an accident during the construction of the breakwater in 1912. However, the Führer and the stoker survived even without this security measure.

Parish partnership

See also


  • John Nettles : Hitler's island madness. The British Channel Islands under German occupation 1940–1945 . Osburg Verlag, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-9551009-4-0 .
  • Victor Coysh: Alderney Newton Abbot 1974

Web links

Commons : Alderney  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Alderney Electronic Census Report 31st March 2015 Publication of the Alderney Island Administration (; English), accessed on April 18, 2016
  3. ^ Marine Regions · Hurd Deep (Deep). Retrieved August 22, 2019 .
  4. Hurd Deep: Nuclear waste containers discovered in the English Channel,, April 11, 2013 , accessed on April 11, 2013.
  5. Alderney Lighthouse on (English), accessed on 9 April 2016th
  6. Profile of the Alderney Lighthouse publication of the US Lighthouse Society ( PDF , English), accessed on April 9, 2016
  7. Reach of Alderney lighthouse beam to be halved BBC report of March 12, 2011, accessed on April 9, 2016
  8. ^ History of the Alderney Railway , homepage of the Alderney Railway (English), accessed on April 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Alderney Breakwater by M. Swift, from The Industrial Railway Record No. 52 pp. 170-173 (English), accessed April 17, 2015.
  10. Jumelage avec Aurigny ( Memento of April 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive )