Geological Map of Trelawny

The Cockpit Country 
(photo taken by P. Lyew-Ayee, 2003)


Trelawny lies in north-central Jamaica, and has a unique and dramatic topography due to its inherent geological character. The parish is largely composed of White Limestone, and has a major fault, the Duanvale Fault, running E-W across the parish. North of this fault, lies an undulating doline karst landscape within the Montpelier Limestone Formation - a deep water, chert-bearing limestone with marl layers often present, which a normally softer in texture than other White Limestones, but may be locally case-hardened.

The Cockpit Country lies in southern Trelawny, and is the type area for the cockpit variety of karst landscape. Spilling over into the adjacent parishes of St Elizabeth and a part of St James, the rugged landscape of residual hills and cockpit depressions (so named because of the apparent similarity of the depressions to cockfighting arenas) dominates this portion of the parish. This area is largely Troy limestone - hard, micritic limestone that has been intensely recrystallized. Dolomite is often found in Troy limestone.

The Cockpit Country forms part of the larger Martha Brae watershed. This river, one of Jamaica's largest, flows from the Cockpit Country to Falmouth in the north. Caves are another major feature in Trelawny, and are the products of either past or contemporary solution activity on the limestone. The Jamaican Caves Organization provides excellent information on the caves and caving activities in the Cockpit Country.

Trelawny is home to one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the Caribbean, where numerous endemic species have thrived in the rugged environment of the Cockpit Country, flourishing in the springs, caves and the general environment of the place. The Windsor Research Centre, located at Windsor, Trelawny, is the base camp for much of the scientific work currently being conducted in the Cockpit Country. The Nature Conservancy is also funding the Parks-in-Peril project to ascertain the rich biological heritage of the region, and possible naming this a UN World Heritage site.

There is also a fairly significant archaeological relevance to the parish, with Taino (formerly called Arawaks) artifacts and relics found throughout Trelawny.

The capital of Trelawny is Falmouth, situated along the main stretch of road connecting the major resort areas of Montego Bay, St James to the west, and Ocho Rios, St Ann to the east. Trelawny is also the focus of much economic development, with the second phase of Jamaica's North Coast Highway running through it, as well as the planned Harmony Cove resort development to the east of Falmouth.

by Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee, Jr