Welchman Hall Tropical Forest Reserve, more commonly referred to as the Welchman Hall Gully, is in St Thomas, one of the hilliest parishes in Barbados.
The gully was formed by the collapsed roofs of caves and is a fascinating 30- to 45-minute walk through one of the deep ravines that are so characteristic of this part of Barbados. You are at the edge of the limestone cap which covers most of the island to a depth of about 100m.
Owned by the Barbados National Trust, a good path leads for about 1.2 km through six sections, each with a slightly different theme. The first section has a devil tree, a stand of bamboo and a judas tree. Next you will go through jungle, which has lots of creepers, the ‘pop-a-gun’ tree and bearded fig clinging to the cliff (note the stalactites and stalagmites); a section devoted to palms and ferns: golden, silver, Macarthur and cohune palms, nutmegs and wild chestnuts; to open areas with tall leafy mahogany trees, rock balsam and mango trees. At the end of the walk are ponds with lots of frogs and toads. Best of all though is the wonderful view to the east coast.
On the left are some steps leading to a gazebo, at the same level as the tops of the cabbage (Royal) palms. Look out for green monkeys; which are very likely to make an appearance thanks to banana feeding between 1030 and 1200.
Entry fee to Welchman Hall Gully includes a booklet that lists over 50 plants and trees and there are clear and informative signs along the walk. There’s a children’s playground with a treehouse, mini zip-liner and rope swing, and the Chunky Monkey Café serves snacks and drinks including coconut water and rum punch.