Bermuda was once quoted as being the ‘Montpelier of Americas’. A strange comparison to some, but, when it comes to the similarities in climate with the French city, there’s some truth in it.
Montpellier is on the south coast of France – on the Mediterranean Sea – which brings lovely warm and dry summers and mild wet winters. Not completely unlike Bermuda, so it seems to be a fitting name for one of Bermuda’s superb National parks, the Montpellier Arboretum.
The Arboretum is found in Devonshire Parish on the junction of Middle and Montpelier Roads. The British Army handed the land back to the people 1951 and it was transformed and developed in to the Arboretum in the mid 1960s.
It is an impressive 20 acres in size and although it is a managed park, the authorities have a very loose involvement and allow the park to thrive on its own accord.
Interestingly, this approach to managing the wildlife is why the name Arboretum is used instead of ‘park’ or ‘gardens’. The definition of ‘arboretum’ is a botanical garden, mainly a collection of trees and woody plants, partly used for scientific study. Many an academic observes, records and interprets the park, its species and its nature but few interject, leaving it open to self management.
Other botanical gardens and suchlike have human-made flower- and plant-beds which are pruned, fed and maintained but not at Montpellier – it is an area of swooping meadows and forests with huge variety of shrubs and trees including conifers and palms. You will also see cedars, flowering golden acacias, avocados, acres of cherry forest as well as rubber trees and other wildly-growing species. The park’s twenty acres includes an array of trees and shrubs from all over the world which are home to many animals and birds including Bermuda’s rare bluebirds and cardinals which fill the air with their amazing singing and trills.
There are some great pathways to walk and plenty of secluded places for picnics and rest as well as some watering holes and pools for wildlife, with a cedar wood bridge expanse for visitors to traverse. The Arboretum is an ideal space to exercise for dog walkers, runners and cyclists – and some have made their own form of entertainment using the hilly parts of the park for hill-rolls.
The Montpellier Arboretum is located in almost the geographical centre of Bermuda in the North Shore Village in Devonshire and is just a pleasant walk or bike ride from Hamilton. It is open all year round during daylight hours and is free to enter.
Montpellier Arboretum, Bermuda
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Montpellier Arboretum in Bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!