Guernsey Abreuvoirs

By June 13, 2019 Blog, History Guernsey

Abreuvoirs in Guernsey

Abreuvoirs are places for cattle to drink and 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).

Two of the abreuvoirs which are on streams at parish boundaries are particularly grand.

Most are much simpler.

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.

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.

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.