St Helena

It’s a wondrous island, alone in the Atlantic Ocean, little visited so that the islanders have it all to themselves.  Now though there is a new airport, so more of us can see this little, British jewel.

St Helena is the essence of what I call the “Further Wild”; beyond the confines of our familiar islands but as much a part of us, and still a wild landscape where there is always something new to explore and get lost in.

The capital, Jamestown, is confined in a deep cleft in the wall of cliffs about the island, ingeniously wrought in the rock; its “suburb” village high above, with the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder hewn in the rock to provide a path between them.

Above the town is the tropical forest of the isle, with such delights as the Heart-Shaped Waterfall.

All across the hills are tracks and forests, and though this is an island of just 49 square miles, where the sea is visible from every direction on any high spot, this pocket paradise contains wonders enough.

No article on St Helena can get far without mention of Napoleon, Emperor of the French exiled on St Helena (whose charms did not greatly impress him). The houses of his exile are part of the Domaines Français; the property of the French government by a gift of Queen Victoria, and the tricolore  flies today over Longwood House in his honour.

Perhaps the island is unspoilt because it in unreachable, but as it has become more connected with its new airport, one may trust and hope that there is room enough for modest development and wealth-creation without hewing down the forests.