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The Blue Point Post Box Walk, St Helena

On an early morning hike to Blue Point, the sun turns the Sandy Bay landscape into a silhouette. The square cornered cliff top in the distance is Sandy Bay Barn, another post box walk. The knobbly top of Lot's Wife column pokes up in the foreground. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

On an early morning hike to Blue Point, the sun turns the Sandy Bay landscape into a silhouette. The square cornered cliff top in the distance is Sandy Bay Barn, another post box walk. The knobbly top of Lot’s Wife column pokes up in the foreground.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

HEADING SOUTH | Darrin Henry

Blue Point Post Box walk is a little gem of a hike, hidden away in the far, southern corner of St Helena. We only discovered this excursion ourselves just a couple of years ago, but it’s become one of our favourites (as you tell from the pictures) and there are a few very good reasons why we keep heading back there.

The Top Three Reasons To Go Blue

Firstly, it’s as level-ish as you’re going to get on St Helena. There’s some minor up and down involved, but it’s all rather mild compared to the gruelling gradients on some of the other island walking trails.

Walking the last part of the off-road track, approaching the footpath which begins at the base of the small hill, ahead to the right. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Walking the last part of the off-road track, approaching the footpath which begins at the base of the small hill, ahead to the right.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Second, it’s short-ish and relatively easy. With a four-wheeled drive, if you parked at Ball Alley, you could do the hike, there and back, in an hour and 15 minutes. But if you’re not out to set records, allow time to absorb the amazing views, take photographs and have a rest at the post box itself, so two hours is quite a comfortable time-frame for average fitness levels.

Finally, third, and no –ish about this one; the views. In terms of landscape reward for steps taken, Blue Point is probably neck and neck with the Flagstaff post box walk. Take a camera.

Speery Island, viewed from the post box at the end of the walk. There are a few of thse little helpful wooden markers along the route. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Speery Island, viewed from the post box at the end of the walk. There are a few of thse little helpful wooden markers along the route.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Post Box Walk, St Helena – When To Go

After gushing about the views, there’s a ‘but’. Of course there is. It’s the weather! Directly exposed to the powerful south-east trade winds racing up off the Atlantic, the area is prone to its own fifty shades of dreary in a few minutes. Frustrating when we’ve left the house on a clear day only to have 100% cloud cover an hour later on the walk. But, this aside…

The headland of Man and Horse, Botley's further along to the right and Manati Bay down below. Morning light is best for views on this side of the pathway. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The headland of Man and Horse, Botley’s further along to the right and Manati Bay down below. Morning light is best for views on this side of the pathway.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

St Helena map showing the Blue Point Post Box walk. The red dotted lines show tracks suitable for off-road vehicles. The blue dotted line is a footpath only.

St Helena map showing the Blue Point Post Box walk.
The red dotted lines show tracks suitable for off-road vehicles. The blue dotted line is a footpath only.

We’ve done Blue Point at various times of the day. Afternoons is best for photographing the deeply gouged Sandy Bay terrain. But definitely mornings for the best light down over Speery Island on the southern tip of the island and Manati Bay looking west.

The starting point is in Thompson’s Wood. Drive the tarmac road to the point where this changes to a rough track, where you’ll also find a parking/turning bay. Unless you have wheels suitable for rough terrain, leave your vehicle here. See our map for guidance.

Keep The Wife On The Left

Perhaps 20m on the track, take the fork to the left and through a gate. The other direction leads out west to Botley’s and also Man and Horse point.

Once through the gate the track climbs ever so slightly through a grassy field. There’s a hill on your left and to the right, the field called ‘The Churchyard’ falls away, seemingly right down to the sea below. Follow the track for about 800m until the road splits left and right at the Ball Alley.

A minute into the footpath that leads around the side of the knoll. The path is narrow but comfortable for walking. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

A minute into the footpath that leads around the side of the knoll. The path is narrow but comfortable for walking.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Following the top of the ridge. The green and red creeper growing alongside the path can be found all around the islands dry, coastal slopes. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Following the top of the ridge. The green and red creeper growing alongside the path can be found all around the islands dry, coastal slopes.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

One of the cairns that mark the route. In the distance is Man and Horse point. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

One of the cairns that mark the route. In the distance is Man and Horse point.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Walking between the creeper along the top of the ridge, looking back along the pathway. The cloud covered central peaks are way off to the right. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Walking between the creeper along the top of the ridge, looking back along the pathway. The cloud covered central peaks are way off to the right.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Take the right turn, and continue on for another 200m towards the base of a little knoll. Here you glimpse a first view of Sandy Bay and the column of Lot’s Wife to the left.

This is also where the footpath begins, (blue dashed line on the map) branching right, around the contour of the knoll, weaving through the trees and bushes.

This footpath is obvious and easy to follow; it leads all the way to the Blue Point post box.

Look Out For A Man and Horse

Watch out for the spiky furze bushes on this early part of the walk. The path winds around the side of the hill with furze on both sides and the spikes are vicious.

After a few minutes you will emerge onto the broad spine of the ridge that leads all the way out to the post box. As long as you keep to the middle of the ridge, more or less, it’s hard to go wrong, although small rock cairns and little wooden arrows also mark the route which are helpful.

Approaching the final section of ridge. The post box is at the far end, about 5mins to go. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Approaching the final section of ridge. The post box is at the far end, about 5mins to go.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The St Helena National Trust do a lot of work in the Blue Point area, re-introducing endemic plants into the landscape. This collection of water bottles near one of the sites suggests the work involves plenty of heavy lifting. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The St Helena National Trust do a lot of work in the Blue Point area, re-introducing endemic plants into the landscape. This collection of water bottles near one of the sites suggests the work involves plenty of heavy lifting.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The St Helena National Trust do a lot of work in the Blue Point area, re-introducing endemic plants into the landscape. This is one of the habitat restoration sites along the side of the pathway. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The St Helena National Trust do a lot of work in the Blue Point area, re-introducing endemic plants into the landscape. This is one of the habitat restoration sites along the side of the pathway.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The erosion along the pathway exposes amazing colour patterns in the hillsides. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

The erosion along the pathway exposes amazing colour patterns in the hillsides.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Photographing the endemic scrubwood which seem to prefer the windy side of the ridge. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Photographing the endemic scrubwood which seem to prefer the windy side of the ridge.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Endemic scrubwood which seem to prefer the windy side of the ridge. The scrubwood is well adapted to very barren, exposed conditions and flowers throughout the year. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Endemic scrubwood which seem to prefer the windy side of the ridge. The scrubwood is well adapted to very barren, exposed conditions and flowers throughout the year.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

There will be views of the hulking headland of Man and Horse way off to your right with Manati Bay down below. To the left on the other side of the ridge will be the scarred, volcanic landscape of Sandy Bay with Lot’s Wife visible in the foreground and off in the distance, the curved line of St Helena’s central peaks.

The Blue Point area is an active conservation site. You will see fenced off patches where endemic plants are being encouraged to take root and other habitat restoration sites where grasses and bushes are being populated on the hillsides. It goes without saying to treat the environment with care and respect.

On a sunny afternoon the views from the ridge, looking over Sandy Bay, are spectacular. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

On a sunny afternoon the views from the ridge, looking over Sandy Bay, are spectacular.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Post Box Walk Complete

Blue Point itself is actually a high point, half way along the ridge. The post box itself is further along at the far end which you should be approaching after about 20-30 mins from leaving the Ball Alley.

Taking on some water at the end of the ridge, admiring the view down over Speery Island, before making the return journey. This is my dad, Patrick, alongside me, the original mountain goat, who joined us on this morning hike. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Taking on some water at the end of the ridge, admiring the view down over Speery Island, before making the return journey. This is my dad, Patrick, alongside me, the original mountain goat, who joined us on this morning hike.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

It’s a natural stopping point at the post box; 573m above sea level the hillside drops away suddenly and the gleaming pillar of Speery Island comes into view, set against the vast blue of the Atlantic Ocean.

That’s it! The return journey is exactly the reverse.

Hopefully you’ll have good weather. Enjoy.

It would be a good idea to take a note book or even some envelopes to record a copy of the post box stamp. This would save you having to stamp your arm like we always seem to end up doing. Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

It would be a good idea to take a note book or even some envelopes to record a copy of the post box stamp. This would save you having to stamp your arm like we always seem to end up doing.
Blue Point post box walk, St Helena Island.

Acknowledgments:

Scrubwood infomation: ‘The Flowering Plants and Ferns of St Helena’ by Phil Lambdon

COMMENTS

  • Kylie

    September 23, 2016

    This is the next one on our list…someone told me it’s great around November when all the birds are about!

    • September 23, 2016

      Probably good advice Kylie, it’s a bit hazy at the moment even without cloud. From November to March/April is going to be much better.

  • Roger Bagley

    September 23, 2016

    A lovely blog that reminded us of our walk on 8.1.2015. We started at 10 & were particularly awe-struck looking left to Gates of Chaos & Lot’s Wife in perfect visibility. Happy memories.

    • September 23, 2016

      Thanks Roger – when the weather is good it really does leave you awe-struck. Next time we hope to explore a bit further down towards Castle Rock area; haven’t done that yet.

  • karenza777

    September 23, 2016

    My most favourite walk on the island – great pics guys 🙂

    • September 23, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Karenza 🙂 might see you out on the trail one day.

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