Just to the northwest is St Nicholas Abbey which is approached down a long and impressive avenue of mahogany trees.
Dating from around 1660, it is one of the oldest domestic buildings in the English-speaking Americas (Drax Hall, St George, open occasionally under the National Trust Open House programme, is probably even older). Three storied, it has a façade with three ogee-shaped gables. It was never an abbey, some have supposed that the ‘St’ and ‘Abbey’ were added to impress, there being lots of ‘Halls’ in the south of the island. Visitors are given an interesting tour of the ground floor and a fascinating film show in the stables behind the 400-year-old sand box tree. Narrated by Stephen Cave, the present owner and son of the film maker, its shows life on a sugar plantation in the 1930s. You will see the millwall in action and the many skilled workers from wheel wrights to coopers who made the plantation work. The importance of wind is emphasized. If the millwall stopped the whole harvest came to a halt as the cane which had been cut would quickly dry out if it was not crushed straight away. The waste was used to fuel the boilers just as it is today in sugar factories. There is a collection of toy buses and lorries in the stables.
Going back down the steep Cherry Tree Hill you come to the National Trust-owned Morgan Lewis Mill, a millwall with original machinery which the National Trust is attempting to restore to working condition. More funds are needed to finish the job. You can climb to the top of it. Note the 100-ft tail, this enabled the operators to position the mill to maximize the effect of the wind. It is on a working farm. T4227429. US$5. Mon-Sat, 0900-1700. On the flat savannah at the bottom of the hill is a cricket pitch, a pleasant place to watch the game at weekends.
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve, established with Canadian help in 1985, is set in four acres of mature mahogany off Highway 2. It is an excellent place to see lots of Barbados green monkeys close up. Most of the animals are not caged, you are warned to be careful as you wander around the shady paths as the monkeys can bite. They have a collection of the large red-footed Barbados tortoise. Also (non-Barbadian) toucans, parrots and tropical birds, hares, otters, opossums, agoutis, wallabies, porcupines, and iguanas. You can observe pelicans and there is a spectacled caiman (alligator) in the pond. The primate research centre helps to provide farmers with advice on how to control the green monkeys who are regarded as a pest. The animals are fed near it at about 1600. The centre has also developed a nature trail in the neighbouring Grenade Hall Forest, ask for further details. An early 19th-century signal station next to Grenade Hall Forest has been restored. The wonderful panoramic view gives you a good idea of its original role in the communications network. T4228826. US$11.50, children half price. Daily 1000-1700. Café and shop. Getting there: bus from Bridgetown, Holetown, Speightstown or Bathsheba.
Farley Hill House, St Peter, is a 19th-century fire-damaged plantation house; a spectacular ruin on the other side of the road from the Wildlife Reserve, set in a pleasant park with views over the Scotland District. There is a large number of imported and native tree species planted over 30 acres of woodland. T4223555. US$1.75 per vehicle. Daily 0830-1800.
From Farley Hill it is possible to walk more or less along the top of the island as far as Mount Hillaby, through woods and then canefields. However, it helps to know where you are going as the paths have a mind of their own and losing them can be uncomfortable. You will see plenty of monkeys on the way and good views.