Presented with the project idea of the prospect of The Nunnery becoming the home of the Channel Isles first Bird Observatory, on Wednesday 14th June 2017 the States of Alderney agreed to refurbish the Napoleonic accommodation within the historic Roman fort, known locally as the Nunnery.
The intention is that once the work has been completed early in 2018 the Alderney Wildlife Trust, working with the Alderney Society, Jason Monaghan (Guernsey Museum Services) and the States of Alderney, will open the new Alderney bird Observatory & Nunnery Field Centre (ABONFC). The work is now completed and the finished bird observatory is now taking bookings for staying guests (see reservations pages).
Given that the States of Alderney is the owner of the Nunnery, the site’s potential historic significance and its value in supporting economic development on Alderney, the ABO will:
- Ensure the long-term protection of the site via routine maintenance, a planned programme of conservation and sympathetic restoration.
- Utilise the potential of the site as a tourist attraction, enhancing Alderney’s reputation as a niche tourist destination.
- Develop display and interpretation signage so that the site can be enjoyed by the general public, tourists and educational groups. This includes interpretation signage of the post-Roman and German structures and Longis Common overall.
- Utilise the Nunnery sustainably to the benefit of the island.
The development of the Nunnery as the British Isles newest and most southerly bird observatory with field centre accommodation will help the ABO in continuing to attract bird ringers and bird watchers to visit Alderney.
Whilst the Nunnery is primarily a Bird Observatory, we welcome researchers, conservation volunteers, heritage specialists and related student/educational groups, and give them the opportunity to stay in the oldest standing building in the Channel Islands and the best preserved Roman small forts in the British Isles.
Drone Photography by kind permission of John Day
The Nunnery’s importance extends beyond the Roman period. It is currently believed that the site has been occupied, almost continuously, for 1,700 years. It was refurbished as an 18th century gun battery then served as barracks, hospital, married quarters and farm. There is even a suggestion that at some point before the 18th century it had actually been a convent. Finally it was converted to Resistance Nest ‘Piratenschloss’ by the Germans during World War II.