New official hiking trails - imminent opening

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Mark Farrington
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New official hiking trails - imminent opening

Post by Mark Farrington » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:48 am

While staying again at Top O'Tobago for 10 days in Jan-Feb 2010 we did another couple of wildlife-birding-ecology walks with our friend William Trim (whose contact details, incidentally, are in the Guide section of this website - strongly recommended especially for anyone who's outdoor interests go beyond just birds!).

William has been in Aberdeen in the UK for the past year, doing an MSc in tree & environment management, but now he's returned to his job with the Tobago environment dept. he is driving on with surveying, signing and documenting 6 new walking trails through and near the forest reserve.

For years, forest hiking on Tobago has been restricted to the Gilpin Trace plus a few short, less-visited alternatives. This can get very crowded and is wearing out the trail. However, William has led the development of 6 more marked trails, one I think running over a hilly 20km from Bloody Bay via Speyside to Pigeon Peak near Charlotteville (or close to those places, anyway). This one will be able to be done as a single day hike for the mega-fit, or in 2 or 3 days, with designated simple campsites on the route. Route markers will be going in over the next few weeks, and I think trail guides will be available on the web and in printed form.

The aim is that visitors can hike the trails with guides, or self-guided.

This sounds really excellent, and should attract an even wider type of visitor to the island (dare I say it, the sort of visitor that the island needs, not more of the Pigeon Point brigade? No? OK, sorry!).

William took me along one of the short trails - it's on the right as you approach the Forest Reserve sign on the road climbing out of Roxborough on the way to the Caribbean coast. It's only about 1km in length and re-joins the road a few hundred yards up the hill. It is largely flat along old estate tracks, although it is quite rough and wet under foot in places. There's a mass of interest - including the largest leaf-cutting ant nest I've ever seen, plus a good population of varied birds (we saw broad winged hawk and red-rumped woodpecker, for example). They may construct a wooden bridge over a little valley to allow birders to reach the forest canopy.

Overall a good initiative, I'd say. Knowing William's involved gives me confidence that it is actually going to happen, probably later this year.
Regards, Mark

Hugh S
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Re: New official hiking trails - imminent opening

Post by Hugh S » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:26 pm

Mark,

That is excellent news. Looking forward to the new trail.

Also looking for written guides or maps showing trails besides the Gilpin Trace. I agree that it is worn out and sometimes crowded. I will contact Mr. Trim too when time allows.

Thanks, Hugh 8)

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