The L’Esperance Trail is located off Centerline Road. From the Hummingbird Hill Villa you make a left out of the gate and right onto Centerline Road. Travel on Centerline road for about 1.2 miles and the entrance to the trail is on your right. There are a few parking spaces at the top of the trail. On this day we would only hike about a mile in, but enough for some great sights, as there are ruins of an old house at the beginning of the trail.
The L’Esperance Road runs between Centerline Road and Reef Bay. The foundation of an old house can be seen at the beginning of the road. This is not an official Park trail.
History of the Estate
The sugar industry in St. John was at its peak at the very end of the nineteenth century. In 1797, seventy one people lived on the estate, 92% of the land was improved, 156 acres were planted in sugar cane, 25 acres in provisions and 25 acres were used as pasture land where 38 cows grazed. Only 19 acres of the L’Esperance plantation were undeveloped and classified as woodland.
In 1830, the plantation stopped its sugar production operation and became a cattle and provision growing farm. This was a hardship for the slaves living on L’Esperance as they were removed from the plantation and from their families living on nearby estates.
By 1836, only ten acres of L’Esperance were developed and the population had fallen to 13.
L’Esperance was purchased by the municipal council for the residence of the local doctor for the island of St. John. The law at that time required the plantation owners to pay two cents per person for the services of the doctor, who was called doctor two-penny.
Records from 1875 report L’Esperance to have been abandoned.
Several Structures are located just past the stone bridge.
A short Video of the L’ Esperance Ruins: http://youtu.be/Tc5k6mc7D_Y
Other helpful L’Esperance Links: