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Cockpit Country, Jamaica

#34 of 46 in Nature in Jamaica
Cockpit Country is an area in Trelawny and Saint Elizabeth parishes in Jamaica. The land is marked by steep-sided hollows, as much as 120m deep in places, which are separated by conical hills and ridges. Maroons who had escaped from plantations used the difficult territory for its natural defenses to develop communities outside the control of Spanish or British colonists. Since 1739 it has been the center of Accompong, an indigenous Maroon community that still has a certain recognized autonomy under the independent Jamaican government.
On the north, the main defining feature is the fault-based "Escarpment", a long ridge that extends from Flagstaff in the west, through Windsor in the centre, to Campbells and the start of the Barbecue Bottom Road . The Barbecue Bottom Road, which runs north-south, high along the side of a deep, fault-based valley in the east, is the only drivable route across the Cockpit Country. Walkers and riders can use two old, historical trails cross further west, the Troy Trail, and the Quick Step Trail. As of 2006 they are seldom used and difficult to find.
In the southwest, near Quick Step, is the district known as the "Land of Look Behind." It was so named because Spanish horsemen venturing into this region of hostile escaped slaves were said to have ridden two to a mount, one rider facing to the rear to keep a precautionary watch against ambush.
Where the ridges between sinkholes in the plateau area have dissolved, flat-bottomed basins or valleys have been formed that are filled with terra rosa soils, some of the most productive on the island. The largest basin is the Vale of Clarendon, 80km long and 32km wide. Queen of Spains Valley, Nassau Valley, and Cave Valley were formed by the same process.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
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  • A peaceful spot to get out of the tourist hotspots and dive into local nature, chat with local people and see authentic Jamaica outside of the all-inclusive resorts. + you get a fresh mango from the t...  more »
  • Lonely Planet proved to be right, we spent a splendid day in the middle of Jamaica’s beautiful nature. While hiking and enjoying nature, we had some great discussions/conversations with our local tour...  more »
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