This is probably the most popular* (though not the most interesting) of Ascension Island’s letterbox walks and takes you to the highest point of the island – the top of Green Mountain – at 2817ft (859m). Note that the peak is about 10-15 metres past Dew Pond and is marked by an old anchor chain (picture 4 below).
*a very relative term – on Ascension Island it means there is a slight risk of meeting someone else on the walk. For us it was the only walk we met anyone on. We met one couple on the way down.
At the outset, I need to point out that anyone going up here expecting sweeping views over the island from the top will be sorely disappointed – you will see absolutely nothing from the top which is covered by, of all things, a bamboo forest – yes Ascension Island never ceases to surprise! Fear not though, there are good views across the island as you make your way to the peak though all of the other walks I describe will give you more mostly uninterrupted views with less chance of it being ruined by mist. The vegetation along the way on this walk is off course worth seeing in itself.
The short walk takes about an hour (return trip) and officially starts and ends at the Old Marine Barracks. You need to park at the Red Lion. Alas, the Red Lion is not a pub – sorry to disappoint you – but rather a building constructed in 1863 to house Royal Marine farm workers. It now appears (ascertained by looking in the windows) to be some form of national park display though the level of dust, etc evident suggested it had not been open for some time.
From the Red Lion you continue walking up the zig zag road until you come to a sign on your left announcing the start of Dew Pond walk. As two walks (Dew Pond and Elliot’s) commence here ensure that you take the track going up the hill. You will see the Marine Barracks on your right.
Getting to the start and a small section as you approach Dew Pond are the most strenuous parts of this walk. The walk is otherwise undulating and reasonably easy going.
The walk is certainly through the most lush part of the island with the majority of the vegetation you pass through having been introduced to the island in the 1800s. Very little native vegetation now remains and of 10 endemic plant species 5 are now extinct and the remaining 5 are in great danger of becoming extinct.
Having left the Barracks you proceed gradually uphill through trees and bush (picture 1), cross an open ridge from which you will get the only sea views (picture 2) then through more trees and shrubs to the final ascent up via a boardwalk (often wet and slippery so be careful) through the bamboo forest (picture 3) to Dew Pond (picture 5) and the summit of Green Mountain (picture 4), marked by an old anchor chain about 10-15 metres beyond the rather murky pond.
A bit of history
The pond was constructed in 1875 , together with a single boat shelter akin to the one now at One Boat . The pond was open and exposed until the bamboo forest was planted in 1877, hence the need for shelter. The pond was intended to take advantage of the frequent cloud that surrounded and still surrounds Green Mountain to provide and emergency source of water supply.
The anchor chain is supposed to have been brought here by naval miscreants as a punishment though it was for a time believed its presence here might “charge the electricity in the clouds and induce rain”.
Goldfish were at some stage introduced to the pond with a view to keeping it clean – one can only suppose that there are currently no goldfish in the pond (pictured below)!
Don’t forget to leave a message in the letterbox book and get a stamp to prove you have visited. The book is in the letterbox by the pond.
Address: Green Mountain
Directions: Park at the Red Lion and walk to Old Marine Barracks where the walk commences