In Jersey Côtils Are An Ancient Growing System Of Steep South Facing Fields That Were Used to Grow Vegetables, Especially Jersey Potatoes.

The Jersey Côtils growing system is still evident today and are still used to grow Jersey Potatoes. Côtils are a steeply sloping fields. The word Côtils is also found on Guernsey today in respect of buildings, so I assume that this refers back to the historic term in reference to vegetable growing on steeply sloping south facing fields.

A Devon Cliff Farming Plat, similar to a Jersey Cotils, Recovered From The Scrub
A Devon Cliff Farming Plat, , Similar To a Jersey Cotils, Recovered From The Scrub at Weston Plats

Interestingly the Côtils practice is replicated in Devon with its history of Plats around Weston and Branscombe (both near Sidmouth). Branscome potatoes were grown on the Plats and rivalled Jersey potatoes in the London markets until Plat gardening died out in the 1960s.

In some parts of Devon quillets were common. These are flat areas of cliff top land and provided a crop after the steep cliff side crop was harvested. The word is however more commonly used in Cornwall where it has a similar meaning and history.

In Jersey the Côtils are so steep that tractors cannot be used on the slopes to plough, cultivate or harvest the crop. Ploughing is carried out one furrow to a time using a winch to pull the plough up the steep slopes. It is an arduous and time consuming affair carried out to grow potatoes that are mainly grown for export to the UK. In fact 99% of the crop are apparently destined for the British market.

Tag: Jersey Côtils

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