“Which Jamaican parish has no rivers?”, an exam question I remember from my childhood days in school. “Manchester is the only parish with no rivers”, a sentence that turns out to be a widespread local folklore, echoes in my memory. It may still surprise many Jamaicans that Manchester parish– one of the most mountainous on the island– does indeed have rivers (plural). I’ve visited a few and wanted the 1st one shared here to be the most impressive of my trips so far: Noisy River in a district called Oxford. I have also heard it referred to as Oxford River, named after the community in which it resides, no doubt.
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Finding Noisy River in Manchester, Jamaica
Due to it’s closeness to the borders of Trelawny and St Elizabeth, persons may ask ‘Which parish is Noisy River in Jamaica?’; it is in Manchester. At the time of my visit, Noisy River was an non-commercialized, free river in Jamaica which was surprisingly easy to find with the help of Google Maps.
Take the exit towards Mile Gully from the New Green roundabout in Mandeville. Unlike many worthwhile free rivers I’ve been to in Jamaica, the journey to this one was simple and didn’t require a hike! Noisy River is right next to the main road, with parking available on a soft shoulder in earshot of the rushing water. Walk across the Oxford Bridge– built in 1839– and along the right lane to find spots where you can easily enter the river.
By the way, before you continue…
Pin for future travels!
Noisy River, Manchester
I’m going to confidently guess that Noisy River got its name from its ongoing babbling, caused by the rushing water over groups of boulders. You’ll hear it before you see it. The long river is lined and shaded by the greenery of overhanging trees and leafy shrubs. Large rocks dot the stream, many of them poking out of the water. I’d advise caution and discretion when going into this river; there are deep areas and strong currents among the shallower regions.
Noisy River has multiple dipping spots and mini-waterfalls. I remember its refreshing chill– relieving the summer heat– and its little cascades rolling over my skin. I observed a couple youths while there who seemed to know and probably frequent this particular river. They dove and frolicked freely in the rolling waves, so much so that their level of carefreeness at times made a 1st-time visitor (me) slightly nervous.
Oxford District River
I’ve heard Noisy River is a community hot spot in the Oxford area– or in this cool parish of Manchester it’s probably much more appropriate to call it a chill spot. It’s been known to be lively on weekends, with everything from river parties to shows.
My travel group of the day reached the river in mid-morning, before river goers from around the area began rolling to the local attraction. As more persons came, the usual scenes of a Jamaican community river emerged… Teenagers jumping in repeatedly, men washing their vehicles, and persons washing their manes. It reminded me of the vibe experienced at Roaring River in Westmoreland, but maybe on a smaller scale. My group left before it possibly got crowded and maybe became more buzzing with activity.
As with most free rivers in Jamaica, there weren’t many amenities by this community attraction at the time. There was a small picnic area with table and benches shaded by trees, a few vendor stalls, and pay-per-use changing rooms.
Noisy River is in close proximity to the Oxford Cave in the direction of the Auchtembeddie district. Like the river, the cave is easily accessible from the roadside. Some may argue it’s too accessible considering human-related threats causing recorded degradation over the years. Our group didn’t explore this deep cave on this trip but I’ve heard it may be worth a visit for spelunkers.
Noisy River Conclusion
Like Unruly River in St.Thomas and Fish Dunn Falls in Portland, I can definitely see the communal allure of the Noisy River falls. Its ease of accessibility, visual beauty, and stretch of swimmable spots makes it a good candidate for a group outing. I visited with the Down Di Road crew, who I previously covered Calbys Hidden Beauty River and Appleton Rum Tour with. As a river flex, I feel like here would be best enjoyed with a group of 4 – 6 persons and of course good vibes. Weekend afternoons are said to be the liveliest time at this spot, so if you prefer a more laidback vibe like we did consider visiting Noisy River in the morning or on a weekday.