Think you’ve been to every Bermudian park worth going to? Think again!
This 18-acre park in Hamilton Parish boasts fantastic Cliffside views of Harrington Sound and an unmarked trail winds between agricultural land to the very top of the cliff. In a recent interview, Dr. David Wingate reported that he planned the native forest for Nonsuch off of the forest at Abbot’s Cliff. He noted the rich congregations of white stopper trees which are rare in other parts of Bermuda.
This little known 32-acre park is the perfect place to relax by oneself. It holds agricultural lands, forest trails, old buildings and even a rocky seashore and beach. Secluded and quiet, it is nestled off the road just before you go over Somerset Bridge.
The winding trails are seldom occupied by anyone else, and they lead you up to a breathtaking view over the ocean. Down the other side of the hill, you can swim out over sea grass flats and not see or hear anybody else.
Palm Grove Gardens
One of the most beautiful and well-maintained gardens in Bermuda, Palm Grove Gardens sprawls from Middle Road in Devonshire Parish to the ocean on the other side. On the rocky shore, the edge of the park can be reached by travelling over from Devonshire Bay or Ariel Sands. The romantic gardens hold various water features, including a pond constructed with a map of Bermuda inside it. In addition, the grounds have a wide variety of ornamental palms, as well as an aviary.
This 35-acre park was inaugurated in 1898. It holds an aviary of peacocks, banyan trees perfect for swinging, and a fernery and cacti garden, as well as a recently constructed quad of themed gardens including a maze.
There’s something for every member of the family at this versatile park. Young children will enjoy exploring the sensory garden, designed for the blind but captivating for people of all abilities, or taking in the ponds, or climbing trees. Older children will enjoy the open spaces suitable for playing games or picnicking.
Vesey Nature Reserve
This newer nature reserve is a beautiful little getaway near Wadson’s Farm in the west end. It was created in 2009 after Bermudian Sharon Vesey donated the land to local charities wishing to save the land from development.
It stretches from Evans Pond, which is a haven for waterfowl, all the way to the edge of the little sound. Because it is little known, it is a great place to take your dog on a walk. They will also get a lot of exercise climbing up the cliff to the edge and back down again.
The second largest park in Bermuda, Ferry Reach includes a mangrove lake, a cosy little bay, and three historic forts within the park grounds. The park is mostly flat, posing a great opportunity for bicycle circuits, and jogging, running or walking sessions.
Queen Elizabeth Park
William B. Perot, the first postmaster of Bermuda, planned this park in the 19th century. It used to be an orange orchard, but over the years has become a beautiful gem inside the City of Hamilton, with shaded paths and flowerbeds in the English style.
In addition to the koi pond and ancient Poincianna tree in the middle, many sculptures, both realistic and abstract, have recently been introduced to the park that will captivate any art lover. For kids, the illustrated book Tiny the Tree Frog is posted in a treasure hunt around the park’s perimiter.
Bermuda’s largest nature reserve, Spittle Pond, is a haven for bird watchers. It is an essential habitat for native birds like herons and bluebirds, and a popular rest stop for the many migratory birds we experience each year. With two ponds, winding nature trails through native forest, and seaside cliffs, the park is an ecological marvel, providing many of Bermuda’s keystone habitats.
After making your way around the two ponds and picking out the various birds residing in the shallows or the surrounding foliage, visitors can partake in historic interests as well. The park has a cave called Jeffrey’s Hole, which served as a hideout for a slave called Jeffrey after he ran away from his master.
This 25-acre nature reserve is another good example of what a pre-colonial forest in Bermuda looked like. Paget Marsh maintained by the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society. Its main feature is a peat-rich pond, and the addition of a 400 feet long boardwalk over the marshy ground enables visitors to look right in to the pond.
Paget Marsh is one of the few brackish ponds left in Bermuda that has remained relatively fresh. While the pest-controlling cane toad is able to live in salt water for short periods, they need to be able to breed in semi-fresh water, making Paget Marsh an invaluable habitat for them.
For the adventurer, the unregulated and unmaintained Southlands Estate is a frontier waiting to be conquered. It sprawls across the whole Southlands neighborhood and includes a shady valley forest, a tomb, and many decrepit abandoned buildings to examine. In addition, in the back garden of one of the abandoned houses, there is a cute little adventurer’s hang-out spot that invites other explorers to chill.