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Sandy Bay

Let’s go to the beach!

blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.
Quoted in The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Inspirational Quotes

Beaches are in short supply on St Helena but Sandy Bay has one…

This page is in indexes: Island Place, Island Activity, Island Detail

Sandy Bay [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]

Below: About Sandy BaySandy Bay BeachSandy Bay in picturesThe Lime KilnTopless/Nude SunbathingRead More

About Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay is a valley in the south of the island, leading south-east from the heights of the Diana’s Peak range to the sea. Although you might expect its exposure to the Trade Winds would make it an uncomfortable place, the angle of the valley seems to give Sandy Bay a calm and gentle climate. The upper reaches are lush and farmed - much of the island’s coffee is grown here, as are bananas; the lower extent is arid. Many fish from the rocks either side of the beach.

Only 5% of the island’s population live in Sandy Bay{5}, making it the second least populous district (after Blue Hill).

Geological features in Sandy Bay include the rock promontory Lot and also along the cost Lot’s Wife and the Asses Ears. A short (but not particularly easy) walk along the coast leads to Lot’s Wife’s Ponds, where it is normally safe to swim.

Sandy Bay is the home of SHAPE{6}, which is housed in the old school buildings{7}. Apart from that and the tiny Baptist Chapel, the main reason for visiting Sandy Bay is to go to the beach.

Sandy Bay from The Depot [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay from The Depot

Sandy Bay Beach

Beaches are in short supply on St Helena; mostly the land meets the sea in a vertical cliff. Jamestown has an area known as the Seaside, but there is no sand, only rocks, and most of the area is taken up with the wharf. Rupert’s also has a small beach but because of the industrial nature of the valley is is used mostly as a barbecue venue. Sandy bay has a large sandy beach - albeit with black volcanic sand - which is ideal for beach activities such as a family picnic, though there is a dangerous undercurrent which makes swimming inadvisable.

Also to explore in the immediate area are the old fortifications{8}, mostly restored, and a restored Lime Kiln.

Sandy Bay Lines, 1862 [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay Lines, 1862

Sandy Bay in pictures

Sandy Bay beach area [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay beach area

Waves at Sandy Bay [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Waves at Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay defensive lines [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay defensive lines

Arid lower valley [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Arid lower valley

Sandy Bay and Lot from Mount Pleasant {1} [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay and Lot from Mount Pleasant{1}

Dismounted guns on beach [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Dismounted guns on beach

Upper valley {2} [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Upper valley{2}

Sandy Bay beach from above [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay beach from above

Lush upper valley [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Lush upper valley

Lot (foreground) and Lot’s Wife (immediately behind) [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Lot (foreground) and Lot’s Wife (immediately behind)

Lot’s Wife from Broad Gut [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Lot’s Wife from Broad Gut

Sandy Bay from Sandy Bay Barn [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay from Sandy Bay Barn

Lot’s Wife’s Ponds {3} [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Lot’s Wife’s Ponds{3}

Cannon overlooking Lemon Grove, Sandy Bay [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Cannon overlooking Lemon Grove, Sandy Bay

Deep Valley Bay {4} [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Deep Valley Bay{4}

Potato Bay (L) [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Potato Bay (L)

Sandy Bay from the east [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay from the east

Lower Sandy Bay, with Lot [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Lower Sandy Bay, with Lot

Sandy Bay, 1809 [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay, 1809{a}

Postage Stamp : Lot & Lot’s Wife [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Postage Stamp: Lot & Lot’s Wife{b}

The road (down) to Sandy Bay [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
The road (down) to Sandy Bay

The tiny Baptist Chapel, still in use, is very photogenic:

Baptist Chapel [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Baptist Chapel

Baptist Chapel & Lot [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Baptist Chapel & Lot

Chapel & Lot from above [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Chapel & Lot from above

Sandy Bay, by Szymon Kalwat, winner of the 2016 Photowalk competition [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Sandy Bay, by Szymon Kalwat, winner of the 2016 Photowalk competition{c}

The Lime Kiln

The Records{9} for 12th October 1708 record that a reward of £100{10} was offered to anyone quarrying stone to be burnt into lime. The lime was urgently needed to repair fortifications. Later, the Records{9} for 9th Jaunary 1712 state that it was decided to build a lime kiln at Sandy Bay as “the best stone can be quarried there”. The planned kiln would be capable of burning 1,000 bushels of wood at one time.

Unrestored, 2003 [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Unrestored, 2003

Restored lime kiln [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]
Restored lime kiln

It is not certain if the structure recently restored, just up from Sandy Bay Beach, is actually this original kiln, or a later model, but it remains and interesting structure and well worth exploring. It is best reached by following the stream up from the old Sandy Bay fortifications.

Topless/Nude Sunbathing

Apparently there is a Sandy Bay Beach in South Africa that is popular with nude sunbathers. We’re not certain that nude sunbathing is actually illegal on St Helena - it doesn’t seem to be covered explicitly by any Ordinance - but we certainly wouldn’t recommend trying it on our Sandy Bay Beach. You would most probably be prosecuted under the Summary Offences Ordinance, Cap.24, Section 4 ‘Nuisances committed in public places etc’, which makes it illegal to: item (j) “use any profane, indecent or obscene language, or shall be guilty of any riotous or indecent behaviour to the annoyance of other persons;”; or maybe item (k) “in any manner causes any breach of the peace, other than as provided for in the foregoing provisions of this section;” or possibly even item (m) “in any public place exhibits any poster, badge, drawing, model, symbol or other representation which in any way is indecent or offends or may offend ordinary members of the public or which could corrupt public morals having special regard to the morals of children and young persons;”.

Anyone wanting to truly get back to nature can easily find a secluded spot that nobody ever visits where they can do as they please, but it will probably involve a bit of a hike.

JamestownHalf Tree HollowSt Paul’sLongwoodAlarm ForestBlue HillLevelwoodSandy Bay

Districts of St Helena [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]

Alarm ForestBlue HillHalf Tree HollowJamestownLevelwoodLongwoodSandy BaySt Paul’s

Read More

Article: “Treasure Island

By Adelene Thomas, published in the St Helena Independent 30th January 2015{11}

Sandy Bay views [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]

The sun beats down on the already dried and cracked soil as my walking buddy and I brave uncomfortable temperatures in our climb out to the Sandy Bay Barn.

With sweat on our brows and a steady pull on our already aching muscles we clamber over terrain after terrain. With the various contours, come the contrast of colour and texture, a geologist’s dream location.

From the pastel pink to the camel like shades, backed by light and dark greys, mixed with the pink to create a heavy purple, the views are simply breath taking.

As we clamber along the rocky edges of The Barn with nothing but a shear drop on my right hand side, my thoughts wonder to a story about ‘Hold Fast Tom’, the British sailor who scaled the precipitous coastline in Britain’s quest to secure rule of the island once more. I loved hearing this story at school.

At the furthermost point of the barn, conversation is hampered by the howling winds which swirl around the brink of the cliff.

You would not be criticised for failing to glance over the edge as the drop below, coupled with the winds is a fairly petrifying experience. A friend compared it to the Grand Canyon without the Sea… could this experience be as remarkable as such a renowned tourist attraction that people from all over the globe pay to go and see? I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon but I reckon people (who enjoy walking and scenic holidays) would pay top dollar to come and experience what I experienced that day.

A week earlier, I had trudged the other side of the valley to Lot’s Wife’s Ponds for the first time in my life as a St Helenian and could once again only but marvel at the beauty which is our home. It made me a little sad to think that I could have gone through life without having had such a prolific experience.

Popping my head over a ledge I was met with the protective gaze of a bird I hadn’t often seen before (but I assumed it was a member of the seagulls) nesting peacefully on her egg. Yet, she didn’t make a fuss. Might this have been because she did not feel threatened? Was it because she was used to seeing curious eyes relish the sight of such a beautiful white bird set against such a stunning backdrop? Not able to disturb a glimpse of the island’s wildlife at its best.

Was this the reason the pretty fish which live in the ponds below swam closely to us as we snorkelled? Just as curious about us as we were about them. As I sat in the ponds they nipped at me playfully. It reminded me of my vacations to Antigua and Barbados but with no bustling tourists and local merchants. Simply a scrumptious reward for the toils of our journey.

More stories [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]

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Laugh at funny sandybay humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:Sandy Bay]


{a} Henry Salt

{b} St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society (SHATPS)

{c} Szymon Kalwat, www.kalwatdesign.com.


{1} Mount Pleasant was the home of Sir William Webber Doveton in the 1800s. There is today a house at Mount Pleasant, but is not the one Napoleon visited in October 1820. The current single-storey building was reconstructed by W.A. Thorpe in 1904. In Doveton/Napoleon’s time it would almost certainly have been a two storey building.

{2} Showing the precarious road (lower, left).

{3} A short, though not particularly easy walk from lower Sandy Bay.

{4} Quite pretty but almost impossible to reach! For stout walkers only.

{5} 2016 Census: 193 from a total population of 4,534.

{6} St Helena Active Participation in Enterprise, a local social enterprise providing work and training for the disabled.

{7} SHAPE also organises the annual Gravity Rush event.

{8} No conceivable landing site on St Helena was left unfortified after the Dutch invasion of 1672.

{9} The St Helena Records is a collection of documents dating back to the earliest days of St Helena, held in the Government of St Helena Archives. The Archives can be accessed in person or via email - see our Family And Friends page for more. From the records and other sources we have compiled an events database, which drives our events-based pages e.g. On This Day page. You can search our events database in various ways on our Chronology page.


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


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