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Preserving a right of passage in Barbados

Posted by Patricia Borns  February 14, 2011 07:54 AM

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Ordinarily Richard Goddard, known as "Barbados's most stubborn man," isn't the church going type. But on New Year's Day, the 12th.-generation Barbadian rallied 30-odd islanders to hike the Old Indian Trail to church in order to protect an ancient public right of way.

The trail, which is shown on historical maps from St. Lucy in the north of the island to the capital of Bridgetown in the south, predates Barbados's European settlement. Recently, a portion of the trail was blocked by development. Goddard, who founded the country's popular outdoor program Hike Barbados, says hiking the trail once a year will keep it public under British Common Law.

Hike Barbados, which is now run by the Barbados National Trust, preserves over 45 historic off-road routes with the cooperation of property owners who agree to allow access to the trails through their land. The free Sunday hikes have been known to attract hundreds of locals an visitors at a time.

Hans Machel visiting from Canada videoed the unofficial Old Indian Trail hike led by John Knox. Goddard, who says he inherited an "Edam cheese head" (a mark of stubbornness) from the Dutch side of his family, wears the green "Trouble" t-shirt. The hikers completed the trail segment through the development without incident. Did they make it to church? Machel laughed. "No."

Note the vine-like plant shown in the video next to Knox's legs. The Barbadians call it Cow Itch, Beware!

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