Sunday, 2 March 2008

Maldivia to Francis Plain, St Helena

Today we have decided to take a walk that has been recommended to us, to St Francis Plain.

St. Francis Plain is the site of St. Helena's only Secondary School, the Prince Andrew Community High School.(1)

It is also the site of the island's only sports field.

We climb up from Maldivia, to the track marked as the Barnes Road.

Past the turning to the Briars - and the scary animal like noise which turns out to be water choking as it comes out of a pipe.

Next a sign by the local land-owner warning us not to trespass: if we do, he will not be liable for any damages that might occur to us from falling rocks. Just what we want to hear!

We do not trespass, but look nervously at the rocks above us.

We climb on a narrow donkey track up the side of the mountain. Not a walk to be done in the dark or in bad weather. Looking back there are good views of Upper James Valley and the Briars.

We soon reach Francis Plain and are glad of a rest and some refreshments.

We are persuaded by a Saint we meet that we really should complete the circuit and take the road back to Jamestown via Half Tree Hollow and Jacobs Ladder.

On our way we start talking to some boys leaving school. They clamber up a hillside track to reach the road above, and we follow them.

On to Jacobs Ladder. I don't like the look of the almost vertical 699 step drop down to Jamestown, so I take the road!

Finally, a welcome and well deserved drink in Donny's down on the wharf.


1. Education is free and compulsory for the years 5-15. There are three First Schools on the island, catering for ages 4+ to 7(also nursery education 5 mornings a week for children 3 to 4 years) and three Middle Schools which cater for ages 7+ to 11.
The costs of education are decreasing because of a declining population. The costs of health care are increasing very fast, partly because of an aging population, and partly because of increasing off-island referrals. More than 15% of the population is on income-support related benefits. 55% of the workforce is in the public sector.


Kerry Ross Boren said...

Great website! I found it fascinating for two reasons: first of all, I am a descendant of the Tyrell family; secondly, the ship "Sir Godfrey Webster", named in honor of Lady Holland's lover, was used to transport convicts to Australia. Among my convict ancestors was my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ann Parkes, who was carried aboard the "Sir Godfrey Webster" to India at the age of 17 where she married my 2nd great-grandfather, Sgt. John Reid of Her Majesty's 48th Foot. Your site gave vivid color to this period of history. Thank you. Kerry Ross Boren (

John Tyrrell said...

Interested to read your comments and to hear about the Tyrel connection.
Sir Godfrey Webster was in fact Lady Holland's first husband. He was quite a bit older than her. They had three children. She met Henry Fox, later Lord Holland in 1794. She gave birth to a child of Fox's whilst still married to Webster.