The Rosalie estate, starting point of the DOM-Trek Coast to Coast
Challenge Hike is situated island's east coast on the banks of
the Rosalie River, and was one of the largest estates on the island
totalling 2,081 acres. Since the 1950s much of it has been sub-divided
and sold off.
Rosalie Estate produced sugar, cocoa, limes and coconuts at various
times in its history. The ruins of an aqueduct and sugar works
are still standing and the site of the old estate house can be
seen on the hill above the works near to the modern estate house.
A maroon attack on the estate buildings under the Maroon chief
Balla took place here in December 1785. After emancipation a village
developed around the estate yard and there was, for a time, a
police station, school and church, but when new owners took over
in the 1950s the land was reclaimed and the villagers had to disperse
to the settlements at Grand Fond and Riviere Cyrique. The church
which remained is now the site of the FMI Retreat Centre.
The trail rises from the Rosalie River and passes up and along
the plateau and through the village of Grand Fond. The route continues
gently through village gardens. Then begins the steepest section
to a point overlooking the Freshwater Lake. Two streams are crossed,
one of which is called Laivye Dejeuner because people used to
stop, eat the food they were carrying and drink the water there
on the way across the island. Then the track makes a series of
tight hairpin bends as it climbs steeply to the higest point.
From here one gets wonderful views down the Rosalie Valley to
the Atlantic Ocean and the East Coast and, with one turn, there
is the Freshwater Lake and surrounding mountains to the west.
The walk continues around the lake and along the rough but motorable
section of the Chemin Letang to the village of Laudat. Much of
this route passes through the UNESCO World Heritage Trois Pitons
National Park and views of the forested mountains of the park
can be seen as one walks.
The village of Laudat was a main resting and overnighting spot
for walkers in the old days and a "rest house" was operated
by one of the village families for generations.
On approaching Laudat one looks down the Roseau Valley and sees
Morne Bruce and the city with the spire of the cathedral dominating.
The rest of the route is all down hill with spectacular views
all around and at the valley bottom it passes through the old
citrus plantations of Shawford, Fond Cani and Bath Estate which
are now virtually suburbs of Roseau. Like the people of the east
coast in the days of old, who were called "gen Au Vent"
(people of Windward side), the hiker enters Roseau across the
Bath Bridge and the journey is over, although in times past, loaded
with baskets of goods from town, the people of Au Vent had to
do it all over again in the opposite direction!
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of Maxine
Alleyne of the Southeastern Tourism Development Committee