The Post Box Walks collection of guided paths on the island was established by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group (SNCG) for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. They have nothing to do with postage or postmen, but everything to do with accessing some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery on the island, whilst at the same time getting some idea of what is in store for you. The name comes from the drainpipe “postbox” at the end of each walk where you will find a notebook in which to record your visit and an inked stamp to use in your own copy of the Post Box Walks guidebook.
These walks vary in their degree of severity from easy paths to more severe walks with some amount of “cliff-hanging” involved. |The rewards are tremendous with amazing views of the island from different angles. The majority of them follow ridges and gullies through the arid periphery of the island down to sea level – the downside is that the walk home is always uphill! Others in the central area are associated with the Central Ridge and Peaks area – much wetter, with lush vegetation and periodic panoramic views of the entire island. Here at least the way hme is usually downhill.
Paths are constantly being modified by the wind and the rain, and of course by you – the visitor and user. Vegetation grows at an incredible rate in the higher wetter parts of the island, needing to be cut back to keep the path clear and route evident. At the same time we have to ensure that endemic plants are recognised and conserved, and that the path still permits free access by smaller invertebrates especially from one side to the other. This has not yet required the installation of “invertebrate bridges” to maintain contact between otherwise separated habitat fragments, but this could come.
The Trust has been entrusted with the care and maintenance of the Post Box Walks on a three year contract from the St Helena Tourism Office and employs a team of two people with a vehicle and equipment to manage them. The wetter areas require more frequent attention, while the dryer areas need care of steps, steep descents and in some cases ropes to assist the climber.
Recently for example the rope descent at the end of the Lot’s Wife’s Ponds walk was replaced by a team of volunteers from the Trust, SNCG and other groups.
The Trust is also working with the Tourism Office and SNCG to republish the Post Box Walks guidebook in a pocket format for the use of users. It is hoped that this will be ready by early 2014.