Barbados Central Hills Attractions
Some of the natural areas of the Barbados Central Hills are the setting for some interesting attractions. The area can be characterized as being along or between highways 2 and 3B in the parishes of St Thomas and St George.
Francia Plantation (Closed)
CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.Francia Plantation was built by a Frenchman who immigrated from Brazil, bringing ideas of architecture from several cultures. His descendants still occupy the house and retain the original furnishings.The architecture combines an Italian-villa look with a graceful flight of stairs leading to a Barbadian porch framed in three round arches. South American double-hung Demerara jalousie shutters shade the windows while allowing a breeze to circulate through the house.The wood paneling and floor of the entrance hall are made of the rare Brazilian hardwood called Sucupira. The dining room opposite the entrance boasts elegant mahogany furniture plus a rare 1657 printed map of Barbados plus a 1522 printed map of the West Indies, the data for which is said to come from Columbus.The drawing room occupies the right end of the house and opens onto a veranda and vast lawns and gardens. Since the family raises plants commercially, a collection of colorful orchids are usually on hand.One local feature on the grounds are dripstones made of the local limestone which were the traditional method for purifying drinking water.
Gun Hill Signal Station
Built in 1818 and used to signal the approach of enemy ships as well as the safe arrival of cargo ships, the Gun Hill Signal Station was restored in 1982 by the Barbados National Trust. The station is placed on the highland of St George and offers excellent views east through south and west. From here one sees the flat land of the southern end of the island and the hills to the north. The grounds are well landscaped.On the lower part of the hill is a British Lion carved by British troops from a single boulder in the 19th century.
Welchman Hall Gully
This gully and its cliffs were formed when the roof of a series of caves collapsed. Approximately 200 species of tropical and jungle plants are found here in what is the closest approximation to the original environment of Barbados. With luck in the early morning or late afternoon, visitors will see families of Green Monkey which live in the ravine. Welchman Hall Gully is protected by the Barbados National Trust.
Harrison's Cave features substantial streams, waterfalls, cascades and deep pools. Visitors tour a mile-long route by tram with a stop to walk to a waterfall which plunges to a deep pool below. Lights are used to highlight the stalactites, stalagmites and cascading waters. The sites is administered by the National Conservation Commission. The visitor's center displays Arawak Indian artifacts.
Earthworks specializes in a variety of original, hand finished pottery with colorful painted designs. Visitors can watch the work in progress or browse the shop. The workshop is located in the Edgehill Heights neighborhood which features many beautifully designed homes which are worth a few minutes stroll.
Situated with good vistas in the hills of central Barbados, a circuit with several choice points provides a nice relaxing walk through well-organized gardens planted with a large variety of tropical plants. The collection is well-labeled. The palms, orchids and agriculturally important specimens are highlights.
Located between Gun Hill and St John's Church, Orchid World is surrounded by sugar canes and is home to thousands of orchids. Paths lead through the lush gardens and past water features.