Outing to Paradise ruins, Newlands Forest

March 30, 2019 @ 9:45 am – 1:30 pm
Paradise, Newlands Forest
Newlands Forest Station Car Park off Union Avenue (not the picnic spot)
immediately before gate turn right into car park.
Antonia Malan
083 797 5672

Paradise cottage ruins today: side gable wall (Photo: Jim Hislop)

We will have our picnic lunch under trees near the cars. There are toilets behind the Forest Station, at the end of our walk. (See map at the bottom of this post, plus some need-to-know info).

The route will take us past the fire-fighting helicopters to the Upper Manson Road graveyard, then up to what is believed to be a VOC-period timber slide (lime plastered stone path). We will attempt to trace its full extent and take GPS readings. After that we cross over a stone-built causeway with interesting geological features and remnants of late 19th century waterworks, and onwards to the ruins of Paradise and a lookout post (c.1720-1820). This was the site of the chief forester’s home, with terraced gardens and outbuildings for horses, slaves, soldiers and woodcutters. (Lady Anne and Mr Andrew Barnard stayed there for a few months.) Then it’s downhill along the old wagon road all the way back to our cars, passing the derelict wood-and-iron pumphouse, Pixie Littlewort’s education centre and the public toilet.

A reconstruction of the Paradise complex, Newlands Forest

Once a military outpost on the frontier of European settlement at the Cape, Paradise became the home of woodcutters, soldiers and slaves. People lived there between about 1720 and 1820. The site included a homestead, outbuildings and garden that would have produced fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables and provided shelter for fowls and small stock.

The archaeological team

The buildings and the rubbish that inhabitants threw away were rediscovered through archaeological excavations during the 1980s. Research at Paradise is by no means complete, but some of the exposed features are kept open for people to see. However, they are extremely vulnerable to weather, plant roots and wear and tear from visitors.

Artefactual material found at the Paradise site

NB: Not suitable for non-walkers (no vehicle access beyond boom). Wear comfortable shoes and a hat, and carry water and a snack (but no visible valuables). No dogs please.


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