This 130km walking trail, built by volunteers over the past 3 years, is ready to take walkers through the Onkaparinga River National Park, forests at Kuitpo, down spectacular ridges from the Mt Lofty hills and along our beautiful coastline from Sellicks to Moana.
The Willunga Basin Trail Inc was established to create a sustainable and world-class walking trail over varied terrain that showcases the Willunga Basin. Suitable routes were defined that as much as possible, use publicly owned land including: quiet roadways, unused road reserves and existing or to be created pathways in areas such as conservation and national parks.
One positive outcome of the building the trail is the reclaiming of the unmade road reserves (URRs) – an unformed or unmade (unsealed) road, to which no improvements or alterations have been made and which is under the care and control of council. Walking tracks along URRs invite the public into the bush and encourages everyone to support the creation of biodiversity corridors to protect natural vegetation and animal habitats.
The Willunga Basin Trail became an incorporated body in 2016 and a partnership was formalised with the City of Onkaparinga. Negotiations were undertaken with other government landowners National Parks and Forestry SA and a small number of private landowners.
With the support of a grant from the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing for materials such as posts, stiles, creek crossings, fencing and sponsorship, funds from City of Onkaparinga Council and Bendigo Bank for training and basic equipment and tools, building of the track started in 2019. In 2021 the group received funds from the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board to develop and implement an ongoing maintenance program.
The Willunga Basin Trail has been designed and built by volunteers. Dedicated teams of volunteers have:
- liaised with landowners, local and state government and the community
- raised funds for tools and building materials
- undertaken extensive training through workshops and on the job
- designed the actual track and mapped the final route
- cleared the unpaved walking paths, with minimal impact on the natural vegetation
- removed woody weeds and planted natives
- designed and installed signposts, low impact creek crossings, stiles, support structures for walkers.
Volunteers have been guided by Chris Davies and Zara Lupton from the beginning. They led a small group of walkers exploring possible walking tracks around the Basin. They designed the 130 km trail and way-pointed it into 11 sections that could be walked in half a day. They have organised teams of volunteers, to work 3 half-day work sessions per week, for the past 3 years.
Each volunteer has brought skills and expertise to the range of jobs required and where needed volunteers undertook training in building a trail, health and safety procedures, bush care, first aid.
Teams of volunteer men and women worked cooperatively together – solving problems, sharing expertise and creating new ways to construct the trail in the bush. It has been a wonderful learning experience for everyone involved and there are many stories to tell of the highs and low.
Some of the volunteers who have built the trail will be at the Walking SA Expo at Belair National Park, on Sunday 3 April 2022 to promote the trail and talk about the highs and lows of achieving such a wonderful outcome.
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