Bermuda’s nature is beautiful and there are some places were it has been kept wild with unspoiled flora and fauna. One of the best parts of Bermuda’s Nature Reserve is without any doubt Nonsuch Island.
Formerly known as Nonesuch Island, it is in fact part of the volcanic mountain chain that forms Bermuda. A 14.25 acres piece of land that can be found at the eastern side of Castle Harbor, the Island is part of the St. Georges Parish and, although it is quite close from the main land and especially St. David’s Island, Nonsuch is one of the most isolated places in Bermuda.
It is however accessible by boat – you can board one for the Island at Tucker’s Town – and is a great place for nature lovers and enthusiast hikers. It has been slowly restored to a state close to that of what it was when the first settlers of the Sea Venture arrived in Bermuda.
Before the project of ecological restoration was started by Dr. David Wingate, a former Bermuda Conservation Officer, Nonsuch Island has had a rich and varied history. In 1860, the Island was bought by the government which set up an hospital to quarantine those affected by yellow fever. Later, between 1928 and 1931, it was given on loan to the New York Zoological Society for William Beebe and John Tee Van to establish a marine research station for their bathysphere dive.
From 1934 to 1948, the Island received delinquent boys as part of the Nonsuch Junior Training School. In 1964, the Bermudian government took over and established a conservation area. This is when the country’s emblematic bird, the Bermuda Petrel – also known as Cahow – that was thought to be extinct was rediscovered.
From this date, Dr. Windate became warden of the Island and spent most of his life living here like a hermit. The conservationist’s house where he stayed is still standing up and you will pass it on the trail.
He planted almost by himself many trees such as red cedars and palmettos natives to Bermuda and is credited for the successful introduction of the yellow-crowned Night Heron, a bird related to the Bermuda Night Heron that became extinct after human colonisation. The heron also was the only natural predator of the land crab and it was essential for the ecological balance that it was reintroduced.
Nonsuch Island now has a freshwater marsh and a rich wooden area. Many areas are not accessible to the public, but there is lots to see during the hour it takes to walk around. You can also take a break on one of the natural and wild beaches and bays of the island.
Nonsuch Island – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles ‘Things To Do’ in Bermuda series!
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