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Walk of the Month: Hartmann Road to Highland Road, Monarto
Graham Hallandal invites you to try a walk through the Monarto woodlands.
This month the suggested walks are at the western end of Monarto, 15 minutes’ drive from Murray Bridge.
There are multiple options you can choose depending on your fitness level or time available.
Walk all the trail in one walk in either direction or break up into as many as four separate walks, all off-road.
These use a section of the Lavender Federation Trail and Lavender Cycling Trail, so are suitable as part of a longer excursion for mountain bike riders.
Lavender Federation Trail maps are available from the Murray Bridge Information Centre on South Terrace.
This walk is a part of map one, Murray Bridge to Mount Beevor, and costs $10 a copy.
Park where indicated by the yellow dot on the map.
There are spaces for several cars off the surrounding roads but please allow adequate space for local property owners’ farm machinery on the access tracks.
An out and back walk following the red trail is a total distance of 4.6 kilometres.
Apart from crossing a dry creek near the beginning, the walk is on flat ground with some open ground and woodlands.
Access to the start of the walk is on Frahns Farm Road, just north of the intersection of Hartmann Road, via a swing gate.
The trail is easy to follow and marked at regular intervals with Lavender Federation Trail markers and reflective arrows.
Initially the trail follows close by the edge of Dry Creek, at this point with steep sides and two metres below the surrounding countryside.
Dry Creek only flows after heavy, continuous rain.
There is currently one steep crossing of a side tributary into Dry Creek that is due to be upgraded in coming months.
This section is well sheltered with trees including native callitris pines, a species that has thrived in areas where domestic stock no longer feed.
Halfway along this section is the ruin of Monarto’s first post office.
Consisting of a two-room stone house and a smoke house and oven, the building has deteriorated since the 1960s when compared to a photo taken by the Monarto Commission, who suggested it could be used as “the nucleus of … a neighbourhood centre, for a restaurant, for … (a) community-type facility”, according to the 1974 publication Monarto Old Buildings.
The next part of the trail is a pleasant walk through sections of trees dispersed with open ground.
The trail then reaches Hartmann Road, where there is another swing gate access point.
Turn around and walk back to the car following the same route.
Walking in the opposite direction gives an entirely new perspective to the surroundings.
If walking with a group wanting a shorter walk of 2.3 kilometres, using two cars, you can leave one car at this location on the way to the start and finish the walk at this location.
This out and back walk follows the green trail on the map.
The total distance is five kilometres in both directions.
From the start there is an easy, steady climb in a westerly direction towards Highland Road.
The trail follows Dry Creek for the first 1.7 kilometres.
It is well defined and, as with walk one, marked with Lavender Federation Trail markers.
This section traverses denser woodland than walk one, with few open spaces.
These woodlands are predominately revegetated areas with some remnant native vegetation.
There are substantial numbers of native animals in the area, aided by extensive vegetation extending south to the South Eastern Freeway.
A feature of the walk is a dry-stone wall of unknown origin across the creek.
A large earth dam wall is further along the trail that appears to no longer hold water.
The end of this walk is at Highland Road.
Take the time to walk a short distance along and across the road and look at the view into the Bremer Valley and the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, with the peak of Mount Barker dominant.
As in the first walk, if with a group with several cars, you can leave one at this location on Highland Road and complete the walk or start here and walk both sections to the other car on Hartmann Road.
Retrace your steps back to the start but take time before you start to view the panorama looking east over Monarto towards the River Murray.
You then will understand that since the start of this section there has been a steady climb.
The map of these walks shows trails extending south and connected to this walk.
The Browns Road trails are currently not marked but easily followed.
This area travels through a significant bird breeding area ending at the Old Princes Highway.
The Lavender Federation Trail Callington Spur, a multi-purpose walking and cycling trail 27 kilometres long, runs parallel to the highway at this location.
Free brochures on this trail are available from the Murray Bridge Visitor Information Centre.
Across the highway the Olearia Trail, a multi-use marked trail, begins.
If you enjoy the outdoors, the trail options just in Monarto are boundless.
All these trails are on land under the control of several SA government authorities.
Like many areas of Monarto, this is a legacy of the ill-fated Monarto satellite city project: providing large areas of Monarto in public hands for the use of all South Australians.
Many in the district may not be aware of the history of the Monarto city project, which became a large influence on the current development of Murray Bridge.
The history of this project is described in the book Monarto 1847-1986, published to commemorate the Back to Monarto celebrations on March 15, 1986 in conjunction with the SA jubilee 150 celebrations.
More walks of the month:
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