Shadforth Reserve Walk, Violet Town

Shiffner St., Violet Town 3669

Shadforth Reserve Walk, Violet Town

Shiffner St., Violet Town 3669

Staff Pick
43 m
2.92 km

Set on the edge of town among handsome rural outlooks, Shadforth Reserve presents a fine example of a periurban grassy woodland with a history of community management.

Shadforth Reserve Walk, Violet Town

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Set on the edge of town among handsome rural outlooks, Shadforth Reserve presents a fine example of a periurban grassy woodland with a history of community management.


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A Brief History
The site was named Shadforth Reserve in the Victorian Govt Gazette 1965.
In the 1880s & 90s, E Company, Victorian Mounted Rifles trained here. In 1886 Violet Town Racing Club acquired 141 acres. The first horse race was held in March 1890. Races continued until at least WW2. Two equestrian events were held in 2016 & 2017.

The site had the Horticultural Show until 1939. In June 1951 it was reserved for public recreation and showgrounds. A Golf Club started around 1960 and finished in 2012. A community forest was planted in 2006.

There has been an eco-synthesis of indigenous and non-indigenous species. There are several ancient indigenous trees including grey box, yellow box, white box and yellow gum. Plantings of spotted gum, sugar gum, red ironbark and many other species have also flourished.

A range of species line old fairways, including some high quality native vegetation, making it a sanctuary for native fauna. The open woodland structure and plantings are useful to woodland birds. Large old trees support wildlife, including threatened birds and arboreal mammals, reptiles and bats. Native grasses provide seed, insect and bird food while planted shrubs are heavily used for food and shelter by small birds. As well as a mob of kangaroos and a few wallabies, wildlife includes antechinus, sugar-gliders, microbats, choughs, honeyeaters, robins, parrots, whistlers, wrens, kookaburras, currawongs, dollarbirds and a small colony of the endangered Grey-crowned Babbler.

The site has several dams and ponds. The heavy clay soils shed water effectively, so the ponds quickly refill after substantial rain. When full you can hear a chorus of frogs, including the Pobblebonk and the Striped Marsh Frog.

An interesting Committee of Management objective is to test the idea that land use values do not have to be isolated from each other. Their Charter provides for “managed community access for multiple complementary benefits including recreation, amenity, habitat, conservation and productive uses.” A range of land uses coexist. Planting of the community forest and thinning, coppice growth and regrowth for cut and re-cut, anticipates wood production. Track maintenance anticipates exercise. Revegetation anticipates conservation and habitat improvement. Old fairways make for tree lined avenues. Sand scrapes remain in acknowledgement of prior use. There is a Men’s Shed.

Change here is being managed for the better. This is a reserve where the legacy has been re-imagined and spaces re-equipped for a variety of purposes. Whether following tracks, wandering at leisure, immersing yourself in nature, giving the dog a run, or riding a horse, sulky or pushbike, you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities here.

1.8km old racecourse all abilities access
Picnic tables
Dogs off leash, control near others

No camping / firearms
Take rubbish with you
No vehicles past car park

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Points of Interest

1. Old Racecourse

For a very easy 1.8km walk, the old racecourse has a smooth, firm, sandy base suitable for visitors of all abilities and mobility devices.

2. The Oval

Part of the area inside the old racecourse includes two sports fields. These grassy open spaces remain, and are perfect for dogs to run free.

3. Island Pond

Looking for some quiet time under a tree by the water? Catch some reading or a yabbie or two.

4. Community Forest

Plantings here date back to 2006. Managed community access plans for wood harvesting.

5. Wildflowers

If you visit the Reserve in Spring, exploring the track near the forested Shadforth Rd and Hoskin Lane makes for productive wildflower searching.

6. Three Ponds

Nestled against the Shadforth Rd boundary are three ponds prettily clustered together that are home to frogs and other aquatic life.

7. Heritage Features

Old sand scrapes and tree bordered, grassy fairway avenues are attractive features of the walk.

8. Yellow Gums

These majestic specimens are an example of some of the mature indigenous trees on the reserve as well as some towering grey box, white box and yellow box.

9. Grey-crowned Babbler

Also known as the ‘Yahoo-bird’, so called because of a call that is actually made by two of these social creatures, with the female calling ‘ya’ and the male calling ‘hoo!’ Photo Warwick Paton.

10. Revegetation

Volunteers continue to improve the conservation values of the Reserve with planned revegetation.

11. The Finishing Post

Once this was a horse race track for gallopers and trotting gigs. Here stands the finishing post. Walk or run the 1.8km circuit to find your PB.

12. Men's Shed

The old Golf Clubhouse was built by local volunteer labour, and awaits restoration. To the east of it is the new Men’s Shed.

13. Public Toilets

Handy when you are away from home.


Picnic spot Picnic spot
Seating available Seating available
Dog off-leash area Dog off-leash area
Public toilets Public toilets
Pram friendly Pram friendly
Historical interest Historical interest
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river
Park / Garden Park / Garden