The original farm house at Les Nicolles has been dated by local historians between 1350 to 1450, with many additions being made through the ensuing period, it is what is known as a traditonal Guernsey longhouse. The borders of both the Forest and St Martin's parish run through the property, with the main house being situated in Forest, and the land principally being in St Martin. Historically, each field carries its own name in Guernsey patois, they were often descriptive of their shape and nature, Le Traversin (bolster) being such an example - which is a long thin field very much like a bolster cushion.
For those interested in historical matters, the German occupation of the Islands between 1940 to 1945 have also left their mark on Les Nicolles. Several gun emplacements were built on strategic sites, given that the land over looks Petit Bot Bay and we would be happy to show them to visitors so they can appreciate an important part of local history and one that made a significant mark on the Island and its people in so many ways. These were constructed using slave labour, who were housed in a large wooden shed on the property, with outside (open to the elements) shower and toilet facilities and guard house. The family occupying the farm during the war, concealed their radio in a hedge on the property which was never discovered. Up until the outbreak of war there was well over three hundred feet under glass producing tomatoes. These were demolished during the war but the remaining walls still exist.
Les Nicolles was acquired early in 1947 when the family returned to Guernsey following the conclusion of World War II and was operated as a working farm until 1987, the fields are now let to a farmer for his cows to graze. In early spring, daffodils can still be seen growing on the edges of the fields, these being the remnants of the bulbs. The flowers which were picked by hand were bunched and exported to the UK markets until it was no longer viable, hedgerow primroses were also picked and sent.
L'Etable was the original stable, which the family replaced with La Vacherie (in Guernsey patois this means cow shed, all our apartments and outbuildings are named using the local patois). La Cotte housed the tractor, before being turned into accommodation in the 1960's and La Tcherterie (cart shed) was used as a garage with an apple store above. The old patio was the site of the pig sty, with the calf stable being situated along side, (now the pool room). The swimming pool is situated in the original vine house, the glass of which shattered during a particularly bad storm, and was transformed into a games room for the guest house.
The section of the main house running alongside the drive was originally the hay barn, with stabling underneath. However, during the 1950s this was turned into accommodation. A single storey extension was added to the main house in the 1970's to accommodate dining room facilities. The latest building work took place in the 1990's when a library was added above the dining room with subsequent additions. The garden has been developed over time, part of which occupies the site of an old quarry, which has been gradually in-filled. Following the severe storm of 1987 well over forty trees were lost on the property, these were replaced by new planting that is now maturing. Starting in early December through to April one or more of over thirty camellias are in bloom giving the garden its best appearance in spring, although there's something of interest all year around to see.
1959 saw the first guests arrive at Les Nicolles Farm Guest House, which was registered for twenty two adults, (children under 10 were not counted) with the accommodation being situated throughout the farm including the current self catering apartments. The doors on the guest house closed in 1990 due to EU requirements which meant undertaking a costly refurbishment of the property and would have destroyed a great deal of its character. In the early days we catered for bed, breakfast, morning tea (served after the cows had been milked) and evening meal for the grand sum of £2.50 per week!
In the days before cheap foreign travel, the majority of guests came for their annual holiday principally from the United Kingdom. A number of our previous guests have been visiting Guernsey for well over forty years and it's not unusual for the now adult children of our earlier guests to revisit the property, many recounting stories of their stay here whether it be milking the cows or feeding the farm animals.
In 2004 wishing to keep the property maintained, we decided to refurbish La Cotte once again and offer it for self-catering. L'Etable followed suit some years later and our latest addition, La Tcherterie has just opened.