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Island’s biggest nature reserve to open next year

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The island’s biggest nature reserve will open to the public early next year after four years of development.

The Riddell’s Bay Gardens and Nature Reserve, on a former golf course in Warwick, covers 66 acres and includes walking trails, gardens and water features.

Another 23 acres, a quarter of the site, has been divided into 18 plots of land which are being sold to buyers who want to build homes.

A spokeswoman for Castile Holdings, the company that owns and manages the site, said that more than 2,000 trees had been planted at a cost of $1 million.

New growth: Riddell's Bay Gardens and Nature Reserve (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

She said: “Conservation work actually began on site over four years ago, through a combination of an aggressive planting programme focused on endemics combined with the phasing out of invasive species such as casuarinas and Mexican peppers.

“This programme will continue over the coming years as the site is continually enhanced and upgraded.

“There has been a significant reconfiguration and enlargement of ponds to allow better access for the bird and duck population.”

The spokeswoman added: “Additionally, there have also been visitor enhancements such as the construction of tree-lined walking paths, which are wheelchair accessible, and the introduction of new features such as moongates, tunnels, arbours and wooden benches, chairs, and arches made from repurposed trees from the property.

“A number of additional projects will commence work in the coming months, including the construction of an outdoor amphitheatre, the build out of two unique lookout points for visitors and a 150-foot long arbour tunnel.

“Work is progressing on schedule and it is expected that the bulk of the works will be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

“Numerous job opportunities have and continue to be created as a result of the project. We have sizeable teams daily on site, building the roads, installing cables and wiring, planting trees, building walls and arches, and carrying out general landscape maintenance.”

The park will be open to the public during daylight hours from Wednesdays to Sundays.

The spokeswoman added: “We are currently finishing the new parking area for the general public and look forward to a formal opening during the first quarter of 2022.

“We look forward to having the general public enjoy the park and nature reserve and enjoy all of its new features.”

The spokeswoman said 14 of the 18 housing plots had been sold – all of them to Bermudians – and construction had started on four plots.

She added: “There will also be many contractors on each site for the next couple of years. Other buyers are already in the planning design process and we expect work on the new homes to also begin shortly.

“The Estates at Riddell’s Bay has been a huge success thus far as it offers a number of things that are unique in Bermuda.

“First and foremost, it offers buyers unique luxury living on large lots and a chance to build their dream home. Moreover, there is nothing like it anywhere else in Bermuda. Essentially, one can literally walk out of their front door and on to a 66-acre park with multiple walking trails, manicured gardens and paths in a beautiful setting.”

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Published November 26, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated November 26, 2021 at 7:47 am)

Island’s biggest nature reserve to open next year

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