Rosalie to Petite Soufriere Trail
Newfoundland was once part of Rosalie Estate but was sold off in the 1960s after the motorable road from Pont Cassee to the east coast had opened up the land.

The trail from Newfoundland over the ridge to Petite Soufriere was part of a short cut through the forest to Grand Fond and to the old Pont Cassee to Castle Bruce Road. It was part of the network of trails ranging from main walking paths to hunter’s tracks that criss-crossed Dominica.

Walking to the top of the ridge overlooking Petite Soufriere the hiker gets a grand view down towards the east coast, the rugged bays and steep headlands plunging into the Atlantic Ocean.

Petite Soufriere was one of those areas, which because of the topography escaped being part of the mainstream plantation structure. It developed as one of the “peasant proprietor” communities producing mainly coffee, cocoa, cassava and other root crops. It was settled mainly by “petit blanc” smallholders from Martinique; ancestors of the present day Durand, Coipel and Toussaint families who now occupy the area and who had mixed with their small numbers of African slaves and neighbourhood Caribs to form the Creole mix.

Since 1965 the motorable road stopped at Petite Soufriere but there has been renewed talk of it being joined to Rosalie in the near future. For the mean time this stretch of the original coastal walking road is one of the last surviving examples of what the walking trails around the coast of Dominica used to be like.


This estate is situated on the east coast on the banks of the Rosalie River. It was one of the largest estates on the island, totaling 2,081 acres, but since the 1960s much of it has been sub-divided and sold off. It produced sugar, cocoa, limes, bananas and coconuts at various times in its history. The ruins of an aqueduct and sugar works are still standing and the site of the old estate house can be seen on the hill above the works near to the modern estate house. The first British owners included Governor William Stuart and in the 19th –20th century the Johnson family. A maroon attack on the estate buildings under the maroon chief Balla took place here in December 1785. The hills behind the estate are still called Negre Marron as a result of this being the area from which the attack occurred. After emancipation a village developed around the estate yard and there was, for a time, a police station, school and church, but when new owners, Messrs. Leach and Tabor, took over in the 1950s the land was reclaimed and the villagers had to dismantle their houses and disperse to the settlements at Grand Fond and Riviere Cyrique. The church was abandoned and fell into ruin, but in the 1990s it was restored and is now the site of the FMI Retreat Centre.


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