Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
About Spittal Pond Reserve
Spittal Pond, located in Smiths Parish Bermuda, is the largest and the most premium nature reserve and national park of the island. It spreads over some 64-acres of land area. This Nature Reserve is co-owned by Bermuda National Trust and Bermuda Government.
The reserve stretches along the south shore coastal line and at its center is the 8-acre Spittal Pond. It’s a sprawling sanctuary with a valley having a large brackish pond, several other freshwater ponds with surrounding marsh and woodland areas.
There is a winding trail through all these climbing to a spectacular views over the south shore. This area originally was comprised of 10 strips of privately held land. However due to large parts being salt marshes, it was unsuitable for development.
In 1946, historian and conservationist Dr. Henry Wilkinson purchased a land at the eastern end and later donated the 4.2 acres land area to Bermuda National Trust
Bermuda Government purchased the remaining areas as and when they became available. Some areas in the western side has been leased out to dairy farmers.
In 1966 the first nature trail was created around the park. It was only in 1986 when Spittal Pond actually became a protected nature reserve under the National Park act.
The Nature Trail
The Reserve has two entrances along South Road. Both have parking lots and lead to the winding trail. We entered through the western entrance.
From the parking lot we followed the trail through the woods. Here we saw Bermuda Cedar
and prickly pear cactus.
As you go through the woodland area, you can see trees like olivewoods, casuarinas as well as palmettos and pittosporum. There are also many spice trees and Mexican pepper trees along the trail.
You will see lots of wildflowers as well like the Jamaican wireweed with its tiny beautiful pale apricot flowers. As we came out of the wooded area, Spittal Pond was on the left.
Spittal Pond Imagery. Rotate the image for 360° view.
Use the arrows to move along the trail.
The pond itself is a wildlife sanctuary and protected by a fence. Just before the gate to the sanctuary and to the right is the strange Checkerboard, an unusual geological formation on the coastline. It is a large flat floor of limestone with grooves that divide it into squares.
We heard that even experts are unable to confirm whether human hands or the sea had crafted such work. The area is undoubtedly of great interest to the geologists.
We also came to know that in 18th century, whalers used this place to strip the whales after they were hauled to the shore.
If you look over the coastline, with some luck you can even get a sight of the migrating whales from here during the migration season (March - April). Some sections of the coastline are favorite shore-fishing spots
for the locals.
The Spittal Pond is also a large bird sanctuary and one of the best bird watching locations
in Bermuda. Most of the bird-life can be seen from the trail itself. From October to May, the reserve becomes home to a wide variety of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.
Resident birds in the forest area include Kiskadee, Grey Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Cardinal and European Goldfinch. During the winter time, you can spot black and white Warblers, American Redstart, Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush.
Cliffs and Shoreline at Spittal Pond Nature Reserve
Photo: James Shelton32, cc by-sa 4.0
We have spotted birds like woodland cardinals, finches, mallards, turnstones, sandpipers, white long tails, blue herons, white egrets, occasionally visiting hawks, and the yellow crowned night herons.
Next was the Jeffrey’s Hole
, a cave with an overhead hole. This was once used as a temporary shelter by a slave who tried to escape his master. Go through Jeffrey’s Hole
to know about the full story.
Further up the trail is the Spanish Rock, a historic carving on an exposed rocky cliff face. It’s believed to be the work of Portuguese sailors from a wrecked ship.
The inscription, now cast in bronze, includes letters that look like "RP" possibly for Rex Portugaliae, referring to Portugal’s king and dated 1543. The original rock no longer exists and a bronze cast of the original stands in its place today.
Guided Walking Tour of the Reserve
The Bermuda National Trust offers a 90-minute guided walking tour of Spittal Pond Nature Reserve on demand. Reservations are required before 3pm on Monday.
The tour begins at Waterville
, where you learn about the unusual plants and features of their traditional garden. This is followed by a trip to Spittal Pond, Bermuda’s largest pond and bird sanctuary.
The tour includes important historical and geographical sites as well as information on Bermuda’s native and endemic flora and fauna along the trail that winds around the pond.
Admission to the reserve is Free.
The Reserve is open Daily from dawn to dusk.
Location and Contacts
South Road, Smith's Parish.
Call 441/236-6483 for further information.
Buses #1 and #3 (operating between Hamilton City and St George) serve Spittal pond nature reserve.
Transport fare to reach Spittal Pond
If you have a transport pass then you won't need to pay any separate public bus or ferry fares. Otherwise, from dockyard up to Hamilton City, fare by token is $4.50 and by cash $5.00 per adult in both bus and ferry.
From Hamilton, the bus fare up to the reserve is $4.50 by token and $5.00 by cash. However, if you come arrive at Hamilton by bus and take an onward bus transfer to the reserve, then no additional fare is required for the connection.
You can also use tickets in both ferry and bus for both legs of the journey (from a pack of 15, pack costing $37.50).
After your visit to the Spittal Pond reserve, you can stroll down the South Road to the east for about a mile and get to John Smith's Bay Beach.
While there is barely any sidewalk and the traffic might be heavy at times, if you are watchful, it's worth this one mile walk to this beautiful beach.
You can walk west along the South Road from the reserve to St. Mark's Church. The church is only about 300 meters away. It's a wonderful church perched on a hillock. It has a Gothic look and design and has colorful stained glass windows.
If you walk from Spittal Pond entrance to the east for a mile, you will reach the scenic Watch Hill Park... the view of the south shore from here is excellent.
Town Hill, the highest point on the island, is also at a short distance from here, but it requires an uphill hike.
By Raj Bhattacharya
Raj, a seasoned travel writer and Bermuda destination expert, has extensive global travel experience. This website reflects his profound insights, garnered over nearly two decades of dedicated findings and research on the island. Raj has assisted countless Bermuda-bound visitors by providing direct, personalized responses to their queries and imparting his wealth of knowledge through this platform. This site serves as an indispensable guide for those seeking informed and reliable insights into Bermuda's treasures.
1) Check out Bermuda Nature Reserves
to know about all the wonderful parks, gardens and nature reserves in Bermuda.
4) Check out Smiths Bermuda
to know all about the parish, its attractions, activities etc.
Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Val. Thatcher (July 2017)
Visited Spittal pond June 19 saw a blue grey white heron with a large bill could it have been a juvenile yellow crowned heron. Enjoyed visit and saw the tropic birds and cardinal birds and the white eyed viero.