Monday, April 22, 2024

From bush to breathtaking

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By Sheria Brathwaite

sheriabrathwaite@nationnews.com @Sheria_nationbb

There is a well known spot in St Joseph that is second to none in Barbados.

With its breathtaking view, serene surroundings and peaceful atmosphere, it is a place where one’s heart is content.

It got its name from the infamous Thomas Hackleton, who, as legend has it, committed suicide in the late 1600s by riding his horse off a cliff when news got to his wife that he was having an affair with a slave.

Nestled in the parish, Hackleton’s Cliff is one of the most sought out attractions along the East Coast and one of the highest points on the island.

But before it became a popular hangout and lookout point, it was merely land overrun with bush and a convenient hiding spot for criminals.

After a number of break-ins, residents in the small adjacent community, which comprises about 15 houses, decided it was time to clear the land and transform it into something worthwhile.

One resident in particular, Roger Moore, remained committed to the cause despite the level of difficulty encountered in debushing the area and giving it a facelift. When some of his neighbours gave up on the project, he dug deep into his own pockets and financed different phases of the programme little by little. His passion and dedication to complete the task rubbed off on members from corporate Barbados and non-governmental organisations, who frequented the area.

In October 2015 his dream was realised – Hackleton’s Cliff became a sight to behold.

For his contribution to the enhancement of the community, he was recognised as a Home-grown Hero.

“It is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Barbados,” said Moore. “It overlooks the East Coast and you could see from Foster Hall, Martin’s Bay, Gall Hill, all in St John, to Christ Church out by the airport side. You can also see Chalky Mount, Bissex, Morgan Lewis, Bathsheba and parts of St Lucy.

“The cliff is also very peaceful and the experience is refreshing. There is a fresh breeze coming off the sea. Out there clears your mind; you gather your thoughts and feel relaxed. It is pure serenity and at night the backdrop of the lights from the Scotland District is spectacular.”

While Moore said he was deserving of the honour of being named a Home-grown Hero in a Nation initiative, because of the time he spent developing the area, he did not toot his own horn. He said there were a number of people who contributed greatly to the attraction.

“Island Constable Julie-Ann Holdip and policeman Dalton Thorne conceptualised the idea to make the area a park because they felt it would cut down on the criminal element. Thieves used to use the area as a lookout ground and hiding spot and would break into my mother’s house and the neighbours’ or rob visitors. Actually the last robbery was around 2011/2012.

“So we started to clean after that, the neighbours and I, but then there were some infractions and I decided that we (my family) should deal with it because it’s a major tourist attraction.”

The 44-year-old landscaper and labourer also made special mention of Peter Boof, who he said donated maintenance and heavy-duty equipment to get the area cleared. He said the St Joseph Parish Ambassador Committee, Angela Hamilton

Continued on next page.

Today we introduce readers to the first awardee in the Nation’s initiative, Home-grown Heroes, which will be published over the coming weeks in the Sunday Sun.

Home-grown Heroes is a nomination-based project that showcases and rewards individuals who are doing great things in their communities.

Meet Roger Moore, who spearheaded and transformed the small community of Hackleton’s Cliff, in St Joseph, where he grew up. The area is now a beautiful and serene location, where tourists and locals relax and enjoy the beauty. Moore paid for most of the work out of his own pocket but also received some donations.

For his passion and dedication to the development of Hackleton’s Cliff, Roger Moore was awarded as a Home-grown hero.

Canadian visitor Ed Strohak (right) and family friend Natalie Sider have been travelling to Barbados for over a decade, and each time they visit they go to Hackleton’s Cliff.

From Page 22A.

and Selena Amado also got on board and helped with the clean-up effort.

The Barbados Hikers’ Association and E.W.

Wood Classic donated all the benches in the park while the Barbados Tourism Authority donated two commercial toilets.

Moore continued: “It started out as a community approach and lots of people just vanished because no money was coming in.

The only persons that stayed committed were my cousin, the gardener, a friend of mine, my girlfriend and me.”

Currently, it is only those few people who maintain the cliff’s surroundings.

Most of the upkeep is financed out of pocket and through the little contributions people place in a small fair box erected on the fencing.

Interestingly enough, Moore said he did not always view the cliff as a sight of wonder. He said in some ways he took the attraction for granted until a group of tourists enlightened him.

“Honestly, the love for this came from visitors coming and telling me how much they value the area because they had nothing of the sort home. They told me I was on a gold mine and that they would die to live or own some place like this.

“From there my eyes opened and I started to appreciate what I had. And as I worked debushing the area and saw how beautiful it started to look, my passion intensified,” said the father of three.

As it is one of the major tourist attractions, the bus route should be changed to incorporate Hackleton’s Cliff allowing access to those who want to visit, he said.

Moore lamented that some locals disrespected the area, adding that there also needed to be proper fencing so parents could leave their children to roam while they enjoyed the view.

He encouraged the Member of Parliament for the area, Dale Marshall, to visit the cliff and develop creative ways for it to be incorporated into the island’s tourism offerings.

Nakita Boyce, Moore’s girlfriend, was the person who nominated him for the special award.

Ed Strohak and his family, who have been visiting Barbados for over 13 years, said they were amazed when the area was transformed.

While noting that the cliff was always an outstanding landmark, he said its value greatly increased after the changes.

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