River Torrens Linear Park Trail
The River Torrens, which enters into Gult St Vincent here, forms the suburb’s borthern border. The River Torrens Linear Park Trail begins/end here and follows the river along 30 km of its length through various suburbs to Athelstone, where it emerges from the Adelaide Hills. The trail runs right through the city centre, passing the Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Convention Centre and Adelaide Zoo, providing an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Often lined with River Red Gums and reed beds, the trail is an oasis in the city and suburbs. With numerous playgrounds, picnic spots, duck-feeding spots and toilets along the route, the trail can be enjoyed by everyone.
The trail can be walked by sections, or as a circuit by walking down one side of the river, and returning on the other side. There are trails on both sides of the rivers for much of the river length, connected by numerous bridges. Users can pick up the path at countless spots, however the city section near Elder Park is generally the most popular option. Featuring level, bitumen paths, the River Torrens Linear Trail is ideal for all fitness levels and perfect for families with small children. Many people choose to stop half-way along the banks of the River for a picnic or to feed the ducks.
The reserve is full of natural beauty with plenty of open space and bushland which a number of trails pass including the Tom Roberts Horse Trail, which guides the walker through the best parts of the reserve. Many species of bush and plants can be seen, including Blue Gum, Christmas Bush, Rock Ferm Hollyhock and River Bottlebrush.
Blackwood Hill Reserve Trails are located south of the Adelaide to Melbourne Railway line just south of Shepherds Hill Road in the suburbs of Bellevue Heights and Blackwood. The combined grey box grassy woodlands area is approximately 63.3 hectares of open space and forms a valuable link to the nearby Sturt Gorge Reserve and Craigburn Farm Trail Network. The area features a steep gorge, meandering creek and open woodlands which includes a variety of trail styles. Blackwood Hill Reserve and its neigbour, Sturt Gorge Recreation Park, have a strong history of open space trail use including bush walking, trail running, horse riding and more recently mountain biking. Of special mention is the long standing Tom Roberts Horse Trail which passes through Blackwood Hill Reserve. Entrances to the reserve can be found on Trevor Terrace and Craigburn Road, Blackwood.
These Trails are located in Ashby, Saddle Hill and O’Deas reserves at the foothills of Mitcham in the suburbs of Panorama, Pasadena and Belair. The combined area is approximately 76.25 hectares and the reserves have pockets of remnant vegetation and former quarries.
Ashby Reserve is amongst the largest of City of Mitcham’s undeveloped woodland reserves. It is situated approximately two kilometres south-west of the Belair Country Fire Service station. The reserve is irregular in shape with residential development on its northern, southern and eastern boundaries. The exception to this is its western boundary, which joins Watiparinga National Trust Reserve (“Watiparinga”).
The present day Ashby Reserve consists of the former Gulfview Reserve and Ashby Reserve. In the early 1900s, the Ashby family purchased the land now known as Ashby Reserve from the Rainer family who utilised the property to graze dry cows, as part of a dairy farm. When purchased in the 1930s the property was predominantly cleared with some patches of remnant vegetation. The Ashby’s cleared very little of the land. The property was used in conjunction with Watiparinga for livestock grazing. The Ashby’s managed the property as part of the larger Wittunga Farm until the 1960s, which included the Watiparinga land.
Ashby Reserve and the former Gulfview Reserve were previously cleared, sown to pasture, fertilised with superphosphate and grazed for many years. The properties were later abandoned as farm land at the time of subdivision. In 1968 the existing bullock tracks used in the 1880s were excavated to make a fire track near Baeckea Crescent, leading into Watiparinga.
Valley Loop, Belair National Park
Belair National Park is an 835 hectare urban national park reserve located just 13 kilometres from the Adelaide City centre. It has important natural, cultural/historical and recreational values and is the birthplace of the national park system in South Australia. The Park was dedicated in 1891, making it the first National Park in South Australia.
The Park lies within the Mitcham and Adelaide Hills Council areas, and forms part of a chain of national park reserves located along the Adelaide Hills-Face zone. The Park is a part of the Department for Environment and Heritage Sturt District which comprises 15 parks. It has become the gateway to other national park reserves in the state, as it is often the first port of call for many of the 250,000 local, interstate and overseas visitors who come here each year. This park is managed by National Parks and Wildlife. A park and walking guide is available from the Belair District Office. For more information telephone 8278 5466
The Park is located near Torrens Park stretching from Parkers Road and Andersons Avenue in the west to Brownhill Creek Reserve in the east and from Old Belair Road and James Road in the south to Weemala Drive and Mitcham Cemetery in the north. Randell Park is an excellent place for walking and a number of trails visit the old quarry faces. The park has an impressive range of geological features such as ripple rock, ochre and cliff faces of quarries. Other geological highlights include interbedded felspathic quartzite, siltstone, shale, slate and freestone. The reserve is full of indigenous vegetation such a Grey Box, Drooping Sheoak and Golden Wattle.
Location: Old Belair Road, Mitcham.
Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is internationally recognised as an area of geological significance. In 1946, Australia’s Antarctic explorer, the geologist Sir Douglas Mawson, wrote to the owner of the gorge: ‘The occurrence of an extremely ancient glacial deposit on your land makes this locality of outstanding interest to scientists’. The park also protects a wide variety of habitats which can be explored via several walking trails. Sturt Gorge is located in Adelaide’s southern suburbs of Bellevue Heights and Flagstaff Hill, some 13 kilometres from the City centre. Walkers can enter the park via steep trails from Broadmeadow Drive, Bonneyview Road, The Boulevard and Black Road. There is a small car park on Broadmeadow Drive. The park may be closed on total fire ban days. Admission is free.
Some rock strata in the gorge was identified in 1901 as having glacial origins. This formation, known as Sturt tillite, holds the distinction of providing the first definite evidence of such early stage glaciation in the geological history of the world. Sturt tillite is believed to have been formed from glacial material dropped from ice floating in the ocean that covered South Australia some 800 million years ago. It consists of stones of all sizes, boulders and mudstones. A later formation, containing slates deposited as sediments in the deep lakes that once covered the area, overlies the Sturt tillite. Siltstones and quartzites are the oldest rocks in the park, occurring in small outcrops in the south-eastern corner.
The gorge contains a diverse range of plant communities, from grasslands to open woodlands. The steep slopes are characterised by drooping sheoak and Grey Box, while the most densely vegetated area is a tall shrubland of large twiggy daisy bush and drooping sheoak. Large River Red Gums line the Sturt River.
The park and its various walking trails also offer the opportunity to observe the diverse range of native fauna which comes to drink at the waterholes along the river.
Watiparinga Reserve is a National Trust of SA property in the Adelaide foothills. It is part of a number of adjoining open space reserves with different owners such as the Mitcham City Council, SA National Parks and Wildlife Service and National Railways. The panorama down the hills face and all the way to Glenelg and the gulf is magnificent. Regular train trippers on the hills line get a glimpse of these hidden deep pockets of scrub on their way up to Eden Hills station. Linking up with the Shepherd’s Hill Recreation Park down the creek, Watiparinga creates a green corridor from hills suburbs right down to the plain.
There is some very attractive open woodland in the park, and keen walkers push on up the creek and through into Watiparinga as the gully narrows and the track crosses the stream and starts to climb towards some surprising railway history relics. The chosen route for the line through the Mt Lofty Ranges involved tunneling under the westward reaching ridges here. It also called for two tall viaducts across two steep gullies. The first steam trains headed up for Mt Lofty Station over 120 years ago, and continued to do so for more than three decades until the new tunnel and cuttings took the route that is still in use today.
Some old concrete foundations are still there, strange relics amid the bushland, as are the remnants of orthers that the army blew up a couple for munitions practice in World War 2. The old disused railway tunnel once housed precious Art Gallery paintings, and more recently, commercially grown mushrooms thrived within.