Swamp Walk, Earlston

Corner Shire Dam Rd & Bridge Rd, Earlston 3669

Swamp Walk, Earlston

Corner Shire Dam Rd & Bridge Rd, Earlston 3669

Staff Pick
29 m
1.99 km
Easy

An enchanting walk around a Swampy Riparian Woodland of majestic River Red Gums. A pleasant walk in its own right, it is best experienced in tandem with the contrasting Box Woodland Walk nearby.

Swamp Walk, Earlston

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Summary

An enchanting walk around a Swampy Riparian Woodland of majestic River Red Gums. A pleasant walk in its own right, it is best experienced in tandem with the contrasting Box Woodland Walk nearby.

Description

Options
• Make this a short walk of its own, easy for all the family.
• For a contrasting local experience, add a visit to the nearby Box Woodland Walk
• Connect the 2 sites for a long walk. Use Bridge Rd, Andrew Rd (low traffic dirt) and Bowler Lane (unused road reserve)) for a pretty 13km return. Expand the map above to check out this route.

The walk takes you around the perimeter of a Swampy Riparian Woodland bound by pasture. Navigation is easy using a combination of the partly ephemeral track and fence lines. The short last leg along Shire Dam Rd is also easy. This southern boundary dirt road sees very little traffic. The Reserve periphery to the east, north and west is relatively dry underfoot.

Shire Dam Swamp is a poorly drained depression crossed by a small waterway. This has created a swampy Riparian Woodland dominated by a stand of spectacular River Red Gums, with one dry corner of Grey Box woodland. There isn't much of a mid story. The ground layer is pooled and boggy during the wetter months. Tufted grasses provide a verdant carpet underneath the high canopy.

The noise of frogs can be loud. Frog spawn is to be discovered in every wet spot of any depth. Hollow inhabiting Corellas, Cockatoos, Galahs and Eastern Rosellas add to the cacophonic volume at times as well. Often without explanation, everything suddenly goes eerily quiet. The place is quite an experience for the senses.

Water birds such as Pacific Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, Herons and Swans are to be observed in deeper pools and ponds. There are very easily observable ponds and swamplands in the private land opposite the Reserve on Bridge Rd.

The site is largely pristine, with little evidence of rubbish or litter. However, firewood collection from the ground takes its toll. Removal of such ground habitat impacts negatively on the food chain and structure of this Woodland remnant. Dependent native fauna already have enough to contend with without this thoughtless poaching.

Isolated, species gene pools diminish and biodiversity suffers. In this case it is good to see stock exclusion fencing along the waterway draining into adjacent private land. At least there is some opportunity for the immigration of new blood. The roadside vegetation corridors in such areas are also of critical importance. Many of the roadside verges in this area are classified as significant.

Amenities:
Car parking
Trail head sign
Designated flora and fauna habitat

Cautions:
Open water
Limbs may fall
Embankments
Uneven ground
Slippery surfaces
Subject to flooding
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Be equipped for self-reliant hiking
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Be mindful to keep within the Reserve

Restrictions:
No dogs
No camping
No rubbish dumping
Take rubbish with you
Native flora and fauna are protected
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed & registered

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Points of Interest

1. Parks Vic information sign

Conservation and protection are the principal reasons for the existence of the Reserve. Please pay attention to the restrictions.

2. Private swamp land

Opposite the Reserve is a lovely extension of the swamp on private land.

3. Roadside parking

Just north of the corner there is a parking bay beside a pretty pond. This is great place to start or finish your walk with a picnic.

4. Duck pond

A great place for water bird observation.

5. Enter the swamp

Heading north of the pondage takes you into the swamp proper. Tufted grasses mark wet bogs.

6. Swampy pools

Swampy pools occur throughout the interior of this River Red Gum Riparian Woodland.

7. The track

The track hugs the periphery of the Reserve. This is necessary, particularly in wetter months, for keeping walkers dry and away from soft ground.

8. Nature's art

There might not be any local gallery in this vicinity, but that is of no consequence. Nature's art is beautifully exhibited here in Shire Dam Swamp.

9. Bridged outlet

The swamp is drained by a creek running into an adjacent property. It is good to see stock exclusion fencing and revegetation in place.

10. Small weir

Water levels are maintained by a small weir across the draining waterway within the swamp. There are rocks to step over for crossing to the other side.

11. Meet the locals

As for any bush walk, look, listen, smell, take it quietly and slowly. You will be rewarded.

12. Hollow habitat

One of the unfortunate legacies of 200 years of cutting down trees is the reduction in tree hollows for wildlife. A Red Gum hollow can take 100 years to form. At least this stand has some to offer.

13. Fully surrounded

Despite the splendour of this grand stand of swamp River Red Gums, they remain an isolated fragment of what once was and needs to be again. Kilometres of pasture are on every side.

14. Frog spawn

The sound of frogs can be loud. Frog spawn is in abundance.

15. Illegal wood collection

Evidence of firewood collection isn't too hard to find despite its importance to the food chain and that it is illegal in Nature Conservation Reserves. This photo is from the dry SE Grey Box corner.


Features

Picnic Spot Picnic Spot
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river