This work started in May 2008 and lasted for two years. The aim was to open up a pathway along the valley floor leading to the waterfall so that one of the most attractive natural features in St Helena can be properly seen and fully enjoyed by Islanders and visitors.
Access to the start of the path is via a track called the Barnes Road which runs below the Briars to Drummond’s Point. The Briars is where Napoleon stayed with the Balcombe family at the Pavilion while waiting for Longwood House to be made ready for him as his permanent residence in exile.
Access to the valley floor is from Drummond’s Point. The descent is fairly steep and making this route safe for public use was the first stage of the work. It was completed six weeks into the implementation stage of the project.
At the point where the descent from Drummond’s Point reaches the valley floor the stream from the Heart Shaped Waterfall flows past on its way throughJamestownand then theSouth Atlantic.
A bridge over the stream was the next job. In the rainy seasons the stream can be transformed from a gentle flow to a torrent of water so the bridge has to be constructed well above the stream. This means the bridge has to be 9 m [30 f in length, spanning a stream bed which is normally about 1 ½ m wide.
The 1 km pathway to the Waterfall crosses the stream twice more and passes through woodland and elevated vantage points offering memorable views of the valley and the waterfall.
At the foot of the fall the valley opens out to form a natural amphitheatre. This area was overgrown and needed selective clearing so that walkers can rest or take photographs. The valley and the cliff face are home to several endemic or native species, some of them rare. St Helena plantain (Plantago robusta) is probably the most significant of these. It is a critically endangered endemic which used to be seen on several cliff faces. In the past 20 years it has only been recorded on the face of the Heart Shaped Waterfall where between 100 and 200 can be seen in high and inaccessible places on the face of the fall.