For some it was a first, yet for others who had worked hard to make a section of the proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail accessible for cycling and walking, it was a ‘Show and Tell Day’!
Joining local members of the Mitchell Bicycle User Group, members of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail traveled to the Wallan Railway Station for their group’s monthly cycling activity. Here they were joined by Richard Welch (Liberal Party candidate for McEwen), seeking local news about a rail trail’s development. Leaving the station’s carpark, the group of cyclist’s first stop was for coffee in Wallan followed by riding to the Hidden Valley entry point into the former Wandong, Heathcote, Sandhurst Railway (closed in 1968) reserve.
Following two community working bees, to both clear a path along this overgrown 1.2km section of former railway reserve as well as deal with significant numbers of woody and noxious weeds, these volunteer efforts had now made access to this section of the former railway possible.
Once for made for steam trains, now bike riders travel along the embankment. Video: Garry Long
Located at the top of the Great Dividing Range, this section of the reserve has been hidden away for more than 53 years since the railway was closed. The reserve now has significant amounts of remnant vegetation and native trees that once covered most of the surrounding landscape, until the late 19th century. With increasing numbers of community members becoming involved in creating this local off-road recreation facility in an amazing natural environment, the riders were overjoyed to explore this area as a result of considerable volunteer efforts.
With the next working bee planned for Sunday 10th April, to further improve the pathway and work on weed eradication, this activity is seen as another small step towards creating the Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail for the benefit of local communities and businesses.