Blue & John Crow Mountains

Holywell Area

Most people travelling to Holywell use the road from Papine through the communities of Irish Town, Redlight and Middleton and on through Newcastle – the Jamaica Defence Force training station. Irish Town is so named because of the Irish settlers – many of whom came to Jamaica as overseers for the coffee plantations owned by the English. In 1841, Major General Sir William Gomm, Commanding Officer of Her Majesty’s Forces in Jamaica, moved the training camp to Newcastle to escape the outbreak of yellow fever at Up Park Camp in Kingston. This move saved many English soldiers from death and the site remained a military station from then; today it is used mainly for training. The community of Redlight got its name as it is reputed to be the town the soldiers visited to enjoy “music, liquor and women”. Today, Redlight “Square” is a bustling bus terminus with activity round the clock.

Irish Town is home to Strawberry Hill Resort, Spa and Gardens – part of Chris Blackwell’s (of Island records and Bob Marley fame) Island resorts.

Infinity Pool at Strawberry Hill
Infinity Pool at Strawberry Hill

The Craighton Estate Great House is a beautiful 19th Century coffee plantation home set amidst flower gardens and coffee. The estate is currently owned by the Ueshima Coffee Company. St. Mark’s Anglican Church nearby is said to have been built in 1882 on the ruins of the original church. Gravestones in the cemetery date back to the mid-1800s.

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Craighton, Irish Town
St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Craighton, Irish Town

The other route to Holywell is through Woodford, travelling from Constant Spring, Kingston. The Hermitage River flows from the Blue Mountains nearby this town to be captured by the Hermitage Dam to supply the city of Kingston. If you continue through to the neighbouring communities of Freetown and Jack Allen, you will eventually get to Holywell through coffee plantations, but this will require 4WD vehicle. Or, you can drive through Woodford to Maryland and back on the road to Irish Town – which is better road and just as scenic in addition to having a great restaurant and coffee shop. The community of Woodford has a close relationship with the BJCMNP – with several members working for the National Park through the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust. There have also been projects like a green house and soil erosion control, to assist farmers to make their agricultural practices more environmentally sustainable.

JCDT Member and agronomist Dr. Lindsay explains the use of a A-frame tool in contour farming
JCDT Member and agronomist Dr. Lindsay explains the use of a A-frame tool in contour farming

If you travel past Holywell, you will start going downhill and quickly leave the parish of St. Andrew and enter Portland. The community of Section is at the end of that road, just over the border. Beyond this inter”Section”, you will need a 4WD vehicle and experience. If you take the right towards Silver Hill you will eventually get to Clydesdale and also Cinchona or you can travel on to Mavis Bank to begin your Blue Mountain Peak experience. If you take the left you will get to Cascade and Green Hill before continuing down through several other communities including the Maroon community of Charles Town and eventually out to Buff Bay on the north coast of the island. From Buff Bay you can turn right and travel to Port Antonio and then on up into the Rio Grande Valley or you can turn left and travel to Kingston or Ocho Rios via Port Maria.

Cascade got its name from the numerous steep waterfalls – about 4 of which can be seen from the road. This is the type of waterfall that is typical of the Blue Mountains.

Even if you are “sure-footed”, if you dont have a helping hand, you “canna cross it” To reach the impressive falls at Cascade requires a guide
Even if you are “sure-footed”, if you dont have a helping hand, you “canna cross it”. To reach the impressive falls at Cascade requires a guide

Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls

BJCMNP | The Blue Mountains Experience

The JCDT appreciates the involvement and support of our Partners, Donors and Sponsors

  • National Environment & Planning Agency
  • Forestry Department
  • Jamaica National Heritage Trust
  • Environmental Foundation of Jamaica
  • Forest Conservation Fund
  • Pear Tree Press
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