When I first visited Nevis I did a quick stop at the New River Plantation because of all the machinery scattered around that you could see from the main road. This time I knew I wanted to devote time to trek throughout the plantation ruins and the surrounding land of Coconut Walk.
The estate was the last sugar plantation to operate on Nevis until it’s closure in 1958. Most of the buildings, which have become dilapidated ruins, are still standing but have been overcome by the island’s vegetation. The cisterns are covered by algae, the brick buildings are overrun by ivy, weeds, and small trees which are growing through the bricks, and the machinery is rusting, all which hide any sort of history that at one time could have been preserved.
The property, which originally was 582 acres, sprawls from the main road to cliffs that overlook the ocean. To explore I had to jump over a fence and jump through the overgrown land while praying to miss stepping in any goat poop and coming across anything else that could potentially hurt me including a man I past with the largest machete I have ever seen casually walking up the road.
Once I past most of the ruins I realized the land is now completely uninhabited which is quite unbelievable. There was one dwelling at the edge of the ocean that was part of an ancient Arawak Indian site but besides that, for a few miles in every direction, there was nothing. It was shocking to me that no one had developed this incredible piece of land. There are no make shift houses or signs of people being there other than to walk their goats or have a drink by a bonfire at night.
As I stood in the middle of this rugged land, basically alone except for a few wild donkeys, with the mountainous backdrop to one side of me and seeing the waves crash onto the rocks below me to the other, an eerie feeling of what life might have been like in the plantation’s heyday, came over me. While the scenery is unbelievably beautiful, you can only imagine the terror and pain was created there.
I wonder what will come of it in the future.