Walk of the Month: Bremer Valley Walk to Callington
Graham Hallandal offers you a guided walk through the lovely scenery of Bremer Valley and Callington.
This month’s walk is a one-way walk from a location overlooking the Bremer Valley into Callington.
Outstanding panoramic views – at present with green fields undispersed with yellow fields of canola and the peak of Mount Barker in the distance – encourage a lot of stops and photographs.
Total length of the walk is 4.5km and does require a good level of fitness.
Too far? A shortened version is 1.2km, finishing at the western end of the Callington Grasslands.
One disadvantage of this walk is that a car shuffle is required by leaving a second car at the walk’s end.
An optional diversion to the Callington Cemetery is worth the effort; the cemetery is 730 metres off the main trail and can be undertaken as part of the main walk or a drive after completing the walk.
If undertaking the 4.5km walk, leave a car in Bridge Street, Callington, near the Bremer River Bridge.
Parking for the short walk is via an access track off the Old Princess Highway leading to the western end of the Callington grasslands.
Drive to the start point on the Old Princess Highway near the intersection of Highland and Browns Road – ample parking is available well off the roads.
This walk is along the last section of the Lavender Federation Trail Callington Spur.
The Callington Spur Trail starts at the western end of Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge – near the public toilets – enters Kinchina Conservation Park at the southern end, through Rocky Gully and past Monarto Safari Park and then along the verges of the Old Princes Highway to Callington Hill where this walk commences.
The trail is marked along its entire length of 27km.
The trail was constructed by volunteers involved in walking and mountain biking as a multi-purpose walking/MTB trail and supported by the Rural City of Murray Bridge.
A brochure of the Callington Spur Trail, with photos and map, is available from the Murray Bridge Information Centre, located in the Local Government Centre, with the entrance on South Terrace.
The Information Centre is open every day.
Cross Highland Road to the start of the walk; off-road sections are single file.
Within 400 metres, the trail enters the Callington grasslands.
The Murray Bridge Council and the Kanmantoo–Callington Landcare Group are the managers of this area.
The council and the Landcare Group acquired the reserve in 2002 to conserve the iron-grass grasslands and was registered in 2011 as a native vegetation heritage area under the Native Vegetation Act.
Iron-grass natural temperate grasslands of South Australia occur on gentle slopes of low hills and in broad valleys with elevations from 50m to more than 500m.
Iron-grass grasslands are different to the other grasslands of south-eastern Australia because they are often dominated, not by grasses, but by Lomandra species, known in South Australia as iron-grasses.
These are tussock-forming plants from the lily family (Liliaceae) that are present in other grasslands but not dominant.
Natural temperate grasslands containing critically endangered iron-grass are rare in South Australia.
State-significant species Austrostipa pilata and Bothriochloa macra are in the area, as is Swainsona lessertiifolia, which is rarely seen away from the coast.
Several dozen plants that have bright purple flowers in mid-spring are located on the rise to the east of the southern gate – they are currently flowering adjacent to the trail.
If rain occurs in the first few months of the year, the area is a sea of pink and purple garland lily.
The central area of the grasslands has been quarried for stone.
The early part of the trail can be rocky, so make sure you wear good footwear.
There are many locations where panoramic views are worth a stop and a photo, particularly in the elevated sections of the walk.
The yellow flowers on many of the trees, contrasting with the green countryside and splashes of yellow canola crops against the backdrop of the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, will tempt most walkers to take photos.
Some of the wildflowers are currently on display at the Callington grasslands.
Near the end of the fenced grasslands, look out for the purple flowers of the Swansonia lessertiifolia currently blooming.
As you leave the fenced grasslands area, the destruction caused by trail bikes is apparent.
The trail constructed by volunteers has been largely destroyed by trail bikes; many appear to come from outside the district in groups by transporting their bikes on trailers.
Where possible, find an alternative section to walk until the trail reaches and crosses the highway.
Cross at the marked section and continue to East Terrace.
Turn left and head towards the Callington township.
The trail is well marked along its length.
A short distance along East Terrace, follow the markers and cross the road to face oncoming traffic.
Cross the rail line, the main line between Adelaide and Melbourne, and continue walking south.
If making a diversion to the cemetery, cross East Terrace and walk along Cemetery Road 730 metres.
This cemetery is still in use. Between 1864 and 1900, it had over 300 burials, most of which have no headstone.
Return to East Terrace and continue the walk.
Continue to Bridge Street, turn right and head towards the Bremer River bridge.
A trail head sign next to the bus shelter marks the trail end and the completion of this walk.
Public toilets are located at the Callington Oval on Callington Road.
Callington is a township with a long and fascinating history well worth discovering.
More walks of the month
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