Located on a hill, high above Mangrove Bay in Somerset, the Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve in Bermuda is a great place to visit, whether you’re visiting Bermuda for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks.
Often touted as one of the most romantic spots on the Island, it is the perfect place to take a loved one for a picnic. Fairly small in size but massive in ecological importance, the nature reserve is also a hidden gemstone of Bermuda.
Owned and operated by the Bermuda National Trust, the Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve is named after one of Bermuda’s most famous daughters and important historical figures in equality and diversity. Gladys Morrell was at the forefront of the Bermuda Women Suffrage Society and movement which campaigned tirelessly for equal rights for women and in particular the right to vote for women. As the leader of the Bermuda Woman Suffrage Society she was triumphant in ensuring women’s voting rights in Bermuda in 1944.
A famous quote in the Bermuda Sun by Gladys summed up her passion for equality:
“When we finally came to victory in 1944, the man who brought it through was a comparatively young member, Jack Tucker. We owe him a great deal. You know, the attitude a man takes on women’s rights is an important indication of his character.”
The tranquil nature reserve possesses many native plants and fauna of Bermuda including Bermuda Cedar, Bermuda Palmetto and the Bermuda Olivewood. The reserve is also a nesting area for Bermuda’s Bluebirds which are an endangered species.
In 2006 to 2077, the National Trust instigated a Habitat and Native Species Restoration project which involved the culling of many invasive plants and fauna which were threatening the very existence of some of Bermuda’s indigenous and most precious plants and shrubs.
Bermuda is a small in terms of land mass and as the human population has grown and developed the Island – requiring building and infrastructure -about 800 acres are left as protected in parks and reserves. This is has to be fully protected to ensure its famously rich plant and vegetative heritage remains for future generations and to keep our beautiful Island just that – amazingly gorgeous.
Bermuda’s unmanaged parkland have been left to develop and grow over the centuries and this self-renewing, ecologically-viable wooded landscape has, particularly after huge storms and hurricanes when foreign invasive flora and pests arrive via nature, been subject to pests that are prolific in spreading and domineering our own species. The effects of this can be all too real such as the leaf scale which devastated the cedar population in the 1940’s.
The Project helped to recover and rehabilitate the parkland and to establish native planting. Cull invasive species and nurture the native ones was the plan – and it worked. Two acres of woodland containing endemic Bermuda Palmettos, Bermuda Olivewood Barks, Southern Hackberry’s and Bermuda Cedars have been protected. It was in serious threat by Brazil pepper, Fiddlewood, Loquats, Chinese fan palm, Indian Laurels and Casuarinas. Their spreading was required to be stopped immediately and the culling processes full success is still to be fully determined. What is known, however, is that something had to be done about them. In addition, the native species were planted around the reserve to promote their growth and reintroduction in some parts.
The people of Bermuda and its visitors have benefitted from the project to preserve the nature reserve and to allow the local plant population to thrive without restriction or oppression in their natural habitat and to flourish. A concept we feel that Gladys herself would approve of.
The Reserve is on East Shore Rd, Somerset Island, and is open with free admission during daytimes throughout the year.
Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve
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Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve in bermuda – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!