Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
On Foot
Walking Tour
A brochure describing a self-guided walking tour of central West
Bay is available from the National Trust (see page 92). The 37-
stop tour begins at the West Bay United Church and continues on
to many historic sites. Some of the most interesting of the locally used ar-
chitectural styles are pointed out on buildings along the way, including the
wattle-and-daub houses typical of those built on the island from the 17th
through the early 19th centuries.
Handmade using few tools, the homes were built of mahogany,
ironwood, wattles, daub, and thatch and had outdoor bathrooms
and kitchens as a safety feature. Wattles are woven wood panels
covered by a coral lime plaster substance called daub. Making the
daub was often a neighborhood-wide activity, since it was so la-
bor-intensive. Coral rocks were broken up and baked in a large
kiln to create lime ash. This was mixed with sand and water then
daubed onto the wattles, usually about six inches thick. Although
a fairly simple construction method that used locally available
materials, this style was sturdy and could withstand the hurri-
canes and tropical storms as well as rain and sun.
Wattle and daub houses built from the mid-19th century to the present are
called manor houses . Showing American influences, the modern homes
have indoor baths and kitchens as well as verandahs. You'll see several ex-
amples on your walking tour.
Timber houses , constructed of imported lumber using ship-building
tools, were built starting in the mid-19th century. The most striking fea-
ture of these homes was their intricate fretwork, or gingerbread trim. To-
wards the end of the century, the bungalow style became a favorite, using
pre-cut lumber and, later, cement and blocks.
Traditional Caymanian sand gardens are unique. Raked clean, the sand
gardens are often trimmed with conch shells and have paths paved with
coral. Again, you'll have a chance to view these traditional gardens as you
walk. An excellent spot to see sand gardens is on Boggy Sand Road in West
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