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Alarm Forest

The place to live

blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]

To sound the alarm is not to panic but to seek action from an aroused public.
John F. Kennedy

Alarm Forest is St Helena’s newest district, and has become a sought-after place to live.

This page is in indexes: Island Place, Island Detail

Alarm House [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
Alarm House{a}

Below: About Alarm ForestThe BriarsThe futureRead More

About Alarm Forest

Alarm Forest seems to have been named after Alarm House, a prominent building on the hillside (see picture). Prior to 1692 two guns were stationed here which were fired to raise the alarm whenever unknown ships were sighted in James Bay.

The Alarm Forest electoral area was created in the early 1990s. Parts of the districts of Jamestown and Longwood were cut off to create this new district in between, thus giving the area its first identity. In the 1998 Population Census it had a population of 279 (5.9%) - it is now around around 9%{1}.

Alarm Forest [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
Modern house in Alarm Forest

Much of the original forest has been cleared to make way for housing plots; the area is desireable because it is higher than Jamestown, and thus cooler in summer while remaining warm in winter, has easy access to Jamestown, and is much less crowded than Half Tree Hollow. Communications are good from Alarm Forest to all other districts, giving a range of employment and leisure opportunities. As a result of the increasing population the area’s water supply was significantly upgrated in 2011 and again in 2012.

Apart from Alarm House (which is now a private residence) the only historical sites in the district are The Briars Pavilion in The Briars and at Napoleon’s tomb at Sane Valley. Both of these are owned by the French Government, which means that a substantial part of the district is actually French property.

The district contains the Heart Shaped Waterfall and has a number of settlements, including The Briars (often incorrectly considered to be a ‘suburb’ of Jamestown), Seaview, Two Gun Saddle, Hunts Vale and Alarm Hill, in which Alarm House is situated. The district lacks a community centre or a school, and has only a few small shops, though the number of these is growing as the population increases.

Apart from Sure South Atlantic Limited’s headquarters there is little employment in the district. Most residents go to Jamestown to work. The St Helena Distillery relocated to Alarm Forest in 2012, from its former home in Jamestown, and now has a visitor centre for those interested in the production of ‘Tungi’ (a spirit made from local prickly pear fruit).

Alarm Forest is the only district of St Helena with no coastline.

Two Gun Saddle from High Knoll Fort [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
Two Gun Saddle from High Knoll Fort

The Briars

Although actually part of Alarm Forest, many people assume The Briars to be part of Jamestown. It is, after all, situated in the upper reaches of James Valley. In 1678 the area was known as Parsley Bed Hill. The area was purchased for £6,000{2} in mid-1827 for use by the Silk industry. The origins of the current name are unknown but might result in a failed attempt to grow fruit bushes there.

The Briars is where Napoleon Bonaparte was housed (in the Briars Pavilion) while Longwood House was being prepared. The building is owned by the French Government. Sure South Atlantic Limited’s headquarters, including the satellite dishes that are the island’s link to the outside world, are at the Briars.

The Briars (center) and Seaview (left) [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
The Briars (center) and Seaview (left)

Sure South Atlantic Limited and Heart Shaped Waterfall [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
Sure South Atlantic Limited and Heart Shaped Waterfall{b}

The future

New Fire Station under construction, October 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
New Fire Station under construction, October 2014

In early 2014 it was announced that the island’s new Fire Station would be built in Alarm Forest. The location was chosen because of the good communications links to all parts of the island, especially Jamestown (where most office and shops can be found), Rupert’s Valley (designated for industrial development), and of course, the new Airport. Construction began in 2015 but stopped after the site had been cleared. Nobody seems to know when or if it will resume.

It can be assumed that the population will continue to increase. Whether Alarm Forest will become as populous as Half Tree Hollow is not known.

There are currently no plans to open a community centre in the district. Most residents go to Jamestown or Longwood for their leisure activities.

The Heart Shaped Waterfall and upper Briars [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]
The Heart Shaped Waterfall and upper Briars

JamestownHalf Tree HollowSt Paul’sLongwoodAlarm ForestBlue HillLevelwoodSandy Bay

Districts of St Helena [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]

Alarm ForestBlue HillHalf Tree HollowJamestownLevelwoodLongwoodSandy BaySt Paul’s

Read More

Article: “Eating Local

Extract from an article published in the St Helena Independent 2nd September 2011{3}

The Sunflower Café

N.B.The Sunflower Café closed on 31st March 2017.

The Sunflower Café situated at Woodlea, Alarm Forest, provides a facility and food service for small private functions and will cater to menus that are designed with the customer.

The Sunflower Café is a family business providing a variety of three course menus, from the traditional St Helena Dishes to a more international style of cuisine. Business owner, Ms Millicent Stopforth (Millie as she is affectionately known) is keen to utilise as much fresh produce, for her dishes as possible, and comments that “we have a variety of fresh fruit, vegetable and meats available on the island but one cannot always guarantee the supply. For a business like mine where I can design a menu to the clients requirements whilst considering what is in season, it isn’t so bad; however I can imagine the irregularity of supply of fresh produce is quite a hindrance on those places that have to provide a daily menu”. Millie is keen to support increased production on the island as this would ensure that she could offer a more diverse menu range to her customers.

The full article is on our Fishcakes, and other food page.

closinghumourimage [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]

Laugh at funny alarmforest humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:Alarm Forest]


{a} Ed Thorpe

{b} Tourist Office


{1} 2016 Census: 383 from a total population of 4,534.


{3} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.


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