This walk is perfect if you set out a little later in the morning as the forest provides beautiful shade for most of the hike. The trail starts a little up the road from Freeman’s Bay and leads up to Shirley Heights.
The start of the hike is just opposite the tradesman’s entrance to The Inn at English Harbour and leads though forest, with some scrambling over boulders in places, along the dry creek bed. Eventually you reach a dam, and at the end of the dam take a right and follow continue along the trail up through the forest. Look out for the trail markings of white paint on rocks or around trees. At times the trail is a little unclear. If you are unsure which way to go, stop and check for white spots in the woods – you will soon see them and be back on the trail. Near the end of the walk you pass through an old cemetery and eventually past a brick sluice way and sediment trap, a part of the old barracks.
Once you have gone past the rocky outcrops and the damn- a new junction has been cleared, re-opening a separate trail off to the right called the Gravesite Trail which takes you on a different route through the forest, past some old grave stones, and back onto the main trail higher up – or you take the right turn, which leads you on the meandering path through the forest.
Once you reach the top of the trail, you have a choice of three routes back to Freeman’s Bay:
- The Lookout Trail, which is definitely the quickest. for this route once you are back on the road take a right up to Shirley Heights Lookout, and bear right down the marked trail.
- The Carpenters Rock Trail which is a beautiful hike downhill. To reach it cross over the road and walk across the grass bearing to the right. You will come to a rock outcrop and a fabulous view of the ocean and on a clear day Guadeloupe. It is from here that you start the descent back to Freeman’s Bay.
- Take the road down – if you do this route you also have the option of detouring up to Blockhouse for some more beautiful views, and to Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre. If you do follow the road down, take the left for Galleon Beach Resort and Calabash Restaurant that are well marked on the road and you won’t go wrong.
For all of the hikes in this area we advise wearing good footwear, either trainers or lightweight walking boots, anything with a good sole. There are a lot of tree roots along the track especially lower down on the hill, which are easy to get a foot caught in, and in the dry season, the tracks can be slippy. Generally in the area there are also many Acacia trees with spines of over an inch long in some cases. They can pierce straight through a trainer sole into your foot, so require immediate removal! Always take drinking water, and we advise walking either early morning or late afternoon as the heat gets very intense between 10.00 am and 3..00 pm. It is also advisable to wear a hat.————