Guernsey Abreuvoirs

Abreuvoir near La Prevoté Watch Tower, St Pierre du Bois, Guernsey
Photo of an abreuvoir 16k

Abreuvoirs are places for cattle to drink. They are a characteristic and attractive feature of the Guernsey landscape. Over 140 granite ones were built between about 1870 and 1920, though a few may be much older. Those built by the parish often display the names of the Constables and some of the Douzeniers (the elected officials of the parish).
Stone signpost to abreuvoir at La Villiaze, St Andrew's
Abreuvoir on Les Clos au Comte Rd, Castel

Two of the abreuvoirs which are on streams at parish boundaries are particularly grand.
Abreuvoir in front and lavoir behind on the St Peter Port-St Martin's parish boundary near Les Hubits
Disused abreuvoir where four parishes meet in Les Baissieres
Most are much simpler.
Abreuvoir at Rue des Valniquets, Torteval
Abreuvoir at Rue des Vallées, Castel
Abreuvoir at Les Vaurioufs, St Martin's

Abreuvoirs are built where there is a spring or a stream near to a road. When an abreuvoir is built on a stream it is often formed from a stone trough along the bed of a stream, as at Les Vaurioufs and Les Naftiaux.
Abreuvoir near Les Naftiaux on the stream that runs from St Martin's through the Talbot Valley to Vazon bay

When the abreuvoir is at a spring or a small stream there is usually a stone or concrete trough to collect the water, as in the abreuvoir at La Prevoté at the top of this page.
Abreuvoir at Rue des Bergers, Castel
Abreuvoir at a spring in Saints Valley, St Martin's
Abreuvoir at a spring at Les Becquets, St Martin's

Most abreuvoirs are in the South of the island, perhaps because here it is hillier and the streams and springs are more reliable. This area was also more dependent on dairy farming rather than horticulture which was concentrated in the North of the island, and so the demand for water for cows was greater. Nowadays all the farms have piped water so public abreuvoirs are little used.
Distribution of abreuvoirs and streams in Guernsey

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C.T. David: email cdavid@guernsey.net