Richards Tramline Walk

A walk with David Pottage

How to get there:

From Warburton, proceed along the Woods Point Road towards East Warburton. Immediately after crossing the Yarra, turn into Riverside Drive, and then after half a kilometre turn into Big Pats Creek, pass the picnic ground on the left and continue along the Mississippi Road for approximately one kilometre until reaching the Mississippi track on the left.

The Walk:

The walk begins along Mississippi Track. As this track is closed to vehicles until the end of October, this makes early Spring an attractive time for this walk.

A moderate climb start the walk through a mixed forest of Silvertop Ash (Eucalyptus Sieberi) and Messmate (Euc. Oblique) still showing many signs of fire. An interesting response to bushfire is the fairly dense understory of Acacia Oxycedrus or Spike Wattle and A. obliqueinervia (Mountain Hickory Wattle) A hot fire causes much of the nitrogen in the organic material, which would have been gradually made available to plants via decomposition, to be lost to the atmosphere. Wattles, being legumes, are able to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and restore the soil. Their leaves also contain more nitrogen than eucalypts and break down faster. 

Back to the Walk! After approx. one kilometre of Mississippi Track, we approach the foot of an appallingly steep hill. Well much to everyone’s relief we don’t climb it. On the left hand side is a yellow triangular marker on a tree indicating a foot track. After  just a few metres we reach a ’Richards Tramline’ sign on another tree. We are now on the old tramway formation, which once formed a link between outlying sawmills, Big Pat’s Creek and the La La siding in Warburton. The tramline now follows a gentle gradient. Some thing I noticed along this stretch were a few old sleepers and dog spikes, a dead antechinus, not so dead leeches and the change in vegetation as we pushed further along the track into the unbrunt areas of Mountain Grey Gum (Euc. Cypellocarpa) and Mountain Ash (Euc. Regnans).

After a lunch stop we reach the clearly marked turn off to the Mississippi Road which is the shortest round trip. This is about 5 kilometres from the start of the tramway. The path proceeds downhill crossing what appear to be another trawway formation and reaches the Mississippi Road approximately half a kilometre after passing an old log loading landing. Turning left along the Mississippi Road, the car is but a long stroll away.

On the return journey there is an area known the ‘The Stables’ on the right hand side of the road about half a kilometre from where the car is parked at the junction of Mississippi Road an Track. Our party of two ‘superfit’ athletes and a ten your old took about five hours to complete his walk of approximately 11 kilometres.

 

Source: Upper Yarra Conservation Society Inc.