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Green Castle Hill

Green Castle Hill peaks at 565 feet above sea level, making it one of the tallest hills on the island. Located near the village of Jennings, approximately 3 miles south of St. John’s, Green Castle Hill is accessible only by hiking and it is recommended only experienced hikers trek up the hillsides.

HISTORY

greencastle2Named after an adjacent sugar plantation, Green Castle Hill has held a prominent place in both the historical and prehistoric periods of Antigua’s history. During the historic period, the hill was revered for its natural beauty and the stunning views of the island it offered. One colonial governor of the island, Lord Baldwin, loved Green Castle Hill so much he was buried atop the hill upon his death.

During the prehistoric age, Green Castle Hill may have served as an important site of cultural and religious practices among Amerindian groups. Home to Antigua’s “megaliths,” some people argue that the rock formations atop Green Castle Hill were constructed by Amerindians and used in sacred rituals. Some of the more pronounced rocks have been named such as Chair Rock, Phallic Rock, West Pointing Rock, and Tomb Rock. However, the geological formation of Green Castle Hill might provide a more mundane explanation for the peculiar rock formations. Green Castle Hill is the remnant of an isolated volcano and, at the beginning of the Oligocene geologic period, the volcano would have been exposed to the ocean and waves would have affected the formation of rocks. As the volcanic substance cooled, the rocks would have formed into column-like shapes within the volcano. Thousands of years of erosion have exposed these volcanic rock faces resulting in a variety of boulders of different shapes and sizes. Thus, it is widely believed that the rocks atop Green Castle Hill are natural rock formations. However, evidence of Amerindian activity at Green Castle Hill has been discovered in archaeological research. Therefore, prehistoric peoples may have viewed the hilltop as ritually important and used the natural rock formations in their own cultural practices.

ACCESSIBILITY / SAFETY

Greencastle Hill is quite difficult to access and depending on the time of year, the bush can be quite thick. Visitors go at their own risk and are discouraged to go without a local guide.