Gullies Photo
Gullies of Barbados

Historic travel-ways, lush preserves of vegetation and wildlife, floodways for heavy rains, hiding places and places to explore – the Gullies of Barbados has served many purposes. They are the places our ancestors gathered traditional medicines, now places where visitors wish to walk and photograph.

A gully is a landform created by running water, eroding sharply into soil, typically on a hillside. Gullies resemble large ditches or small valleys, but are metres to tens of metres in depth and width. When the gully formation is in process, the water flow rate can be substantial, which causes the significant deep cutting action into soil.

If you have a look at Barbados from a satellite view, the predominant feature is the island’s gully system; green veins running in all directions from the higher elevations to the sea. These are collapsed limestone caves that were once streams and are now greenhouses for varieties of trees and plants seen no where else on the island. 

Traditionally a source of firewood, the advent of bottled cooking gas has meant that once bare gullies have regenerated to their cool lush former selves which in turn has meant an increase in the island’s bird population. The beautiful Rock Balsam trees typically root along the gully rim while the native trees like the Sandbox and the Bearded Fig emerge from the gully floor. The gullies with their porous limestone bottoms are also key in the collection of the island’s water, which seeps through to the natural underground aquifers.
A to Z of Barbados

Gullies represent one of the six general bio-ecological zones of Barbados. Gully habitats account for approximately 5% of the total land area in the island. Wooded gullies are the majority of these lands comprising about 4% of the island’s land area. The Integrated Gully Ecosystem Management Plan (IGEMP) was prepared under the Gully Ecosystem Management Study. The IGEMP aims to balance the need to protect biodiversity and the gullies’ primary function of drainage with the development required for ecotourism and agricultural potentials.
Convention on Biodiversity_Draft Report