Known officially as Walsingham Nature Reserve and Blue Hole Park, Tom Moore’s Jungle is a lush paradise located in Bermuda’s east end. There are several entrances to the reserve, with the most popular being Blue Hole Hill just off the Causeway.
When one walks through the fence opening and into the trees, it’s easy to be transported to another time when Bermuda was densely lush and sparsely populated. The reserve features many interesting natural wonders, including caves with both stalactites and stalagmites, a grotto and a mangrove pond home to fish and a turtle. Here are 5 things you should know about Tom Moore’s Jungle before you set off to explore it.
1. Blue Hole Pool was once home to dolphins! Bermudians and visitors to the island would flock to Tom Moore’s to watch as the resident dolphins jumped through hoops and performed stunts for praise and fishy treats. While the dolphin show is no longer, you can still visit the grotto and appreciate it for its natural beauty. For a step back in time, check out the below YouTube video at the 1:24 mark and experience the dolphin show as it was.
2. Tom Moore’s Jungle got its name from the well-known Irish poet, Tom Moore who had a habit of sitting underneath a very large calabash tree on the property where he wrote poetic verses. The famous tree was destroyed in Hurricane Emily in 1987 but branches from the tree were replanted in the hopes that it can grow again.
3. Tom Moore’s sits on top of a network of caves and tunnels, which isn’t surprising considering that Crystal Caves and Grotto Bay’s caves are very nearby. Some of the caves located at Tom Moore’s are accessibly by foot and once inside, visitors can catch glimpses of different species of fish that have made their way inside via the many connected channels. One must remember that swimming inside the caves at Tom Moore’s is not allowed.
4. Tom Moore’s Jungle is a bird-watchers paradise. Expect to see herons, finches, cardinals and doves. Likewise, the jungle is also home to a diverse range of flora, include endemic cedar trees, palmettos, mangroves and even wild coffee bean trees.
5. Located on the same property is Tom Moore’s Tavern, built in 1652 as a private home for the Trott family. This beautiful 17th century home is still in its original state but now operates as a fine dining restaurant, Bermuda’s oldest restaurant in fact. Famous visitors include His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who lunched at Tom Moore’s Tavern in 1970.