Heart Shaped Waterfall

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Heart Shaped Waterfall
St Helena, Ascension
and Tristan da Cunha
Heart-ShapedWaterfall StHelena.jpg
TheHeart-Shaped Waterfall
St Helena
Fall: 295 feet
Co-ordinates: 15°56’53"S, 5°42’55"W

The Heart Shaped Waterfall is a remarkable waterfall on St Helena, by which an unnamed steam falls 295 feet in a single drop to the valley beneath. It is to be found to in the valley above the island's capital, Jamestown.

The name of the waterfall appeared in the last century, before which it appears to have had no particular name and who gave it its current name is a mystery. (A book published in 1905 just called it "the waterfall".)[1] The name, "Heart Shaped Waterfall" comes from the appearance of the pink rock cliff down which the water plunges: a vast, heart shape.

The water flows down from the hinterland above James Valley: it relied on seasonal rain and in summer it is frequently dry but appears in the winter and early spring, fed by the winter rains. It is reckoned one of the 'Seven Wonders of St. Helena'.

The land containing the waterfall was originally part of the French properties (the 'Domaines Français') conveyed to the Emperor Napoleon III in 1858 in memory of his uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, who died at Longwood House in 1821. The land was transferred to the St Helena National Trust in 2007 by French Consul Michel Dancoisne-Martineau.

The trail

In 2008-2010 the St Helena National Trust (with funds from the Overseas Territories Environment Programme) refurbished the woodland walk that leads from Barnes Road, at the southern end of James Valley, up to the base of the waterfall, improving the footpaths and building a viewing platform beside the waterfall’s plunge pool. The trail opened in 2011. This is a pleasant afternoon stroll from Jamestown, particularly enjoyable on a warm afternoon when the shade of the trees is welcome. Paddling in the plunge pool is not actually prohibited, though the rocks can be rather slippery.

Building the new trail was a challenge for the Trust: the valley is too steep to have brough heavy machinery or even donkeys, so all the materials, even the bridge beams which weighed over half a ton each, had to be carried up the valley by hand.

A special event to mark the official opening of the St. Helena National Trust’s new footpath to the Heart Shaped Waterfall was attended by over 120 people on 22 December 2010.

Outside links

  • Jackson, E L: “St Helena, The Historic Island, From Its Discovery To The Present Date”, 1905