Rising out of the South Atlantic Ocean, St Helena endures as one of travel’s ultimate frontiers. The tiny volcanic island is a tropical paradise, rippled with rolling hills and frayed with a rugged coastline, all of which offer prime terrain for hikers to don their walking boots. For an island of its size, St Helena is threaded with an impressively varied range of ¬¬walks and trails. The island’s diverse landscapes — from cloud forest veiled in mist to stark ancient desert — offer everything from gentle ambles to challenging hikes with natural beauty at every turn, as well as unique wildlife and rich heritage.
One of the best ways to tackle walking on St Helena is to start with the Post Box Walks, devised by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group. These 21 walks cover some of the most scenic and untouched parts of the island and are rated on a difficulty scale of one to 10, so walkers of all abilities can strike out and discover Britain’s second-oldest overseas territory on foot.
Best for the coast
Looking for a good walk on the island and not sure where to start? Or perhaps you want to enjoy the island’s rugged coastline? One of the most popular walks on St Helena, the Lot’s Wife’s Ponds trek takes you from the terracotta-hued sands of Sandy Bay, past the iconic Lot’s Wife rock formation back to the coast where walkers can cool off and take a dip in the water.
Best for views
Meander through Diana’s Peak National Park, part of the Central Ridge National Conservation Area, for some of the most spectacular vistas on the island. The path follows old military and flax plantation routes through the highest peak on St Helena, and hikers are rewarded with panoramic landscape views across much of the island after reaching 2,700ft. Nature lovers will enjoy the cloud forest that crowns the rugged peaks; much of the island’s endemic flora — such as tree ferns, cabbage trees and the St Helena lobelia — can be found here.
Best for kids
For a family-friendly experience, walkers should call in at the St Helena Donkey Home at Blue Hill. Residents and visitors alike can join volunteers for an easy stroll from the sanctuary to St Helena & The Cross Church and back. Younger walkers might even get the change to have a ride — it’s free, but the docile donkeys are partial to the odd snack of a carrot or an apple.
Best for history
The leisurely Historical Town Walk, led by Magma Way Tours, discovers Jamestown, the capital of St Helena, and stops by various historic sites throughout the capital. The tour takes in the likes of Jacob’s Ladder, the vertiginous staircase that’s all that’s left of the island’s 19th-century cable railway; the island’s Georgian architecture; and St James’s Church — the oldest Anglican church in the southern hemisphere.
Best for nature lovers
Chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of St Helena by islanders, the Heart Shaped Waterfall is one of the most iconic stops on the Post Box Walks. Cascading almost 330ft down a perfectly heart-shaped cliff, (throughout rainy spells) the water tumbles into a pool surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s the perfect choice for a walk for those based in Jamestown, as it’s located just a short distance away on the north road out of the town.
For more inspiration, visit sthelenatourism.com