Saturday 22 January 2022 * – S,E-M;ptX
A short but interesting stroll. Visit Bluetts Block, an ecologically diverse area under pressure from development above Denman Prospect. There is an active group lobbying for its preservation (see their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/712279349177563/ ). From a parking area off Uriarra Road, walk the NW ridge of the area. It contains some lovely granite outcrops. Then a series of off-track loops and fire trails. Wear gaiters for long grass. Around 7km and 200vm, probably about 3 hours walking. No need to book. Drive yourself to meet at 8am, at a white gate (see map for meeting point) on the northern side of Uriarra Road (just before the Stromlo Forest western car park which is on the left, good for overflow parking).
Distance: 5.48km | Climb: 176m | Time: Starting 8.00am 2hrs moving time, plus 30mins of stops | Grading: M/E; E(7-).
I was first in this area in February 2014, looking for geocaches. And it was geocaching that brought me back on 5 Dec 21 (Walk 24) to walk the ridge with a cache at each little granite knoll. I then discovered the Bluetts Block FaceBook page and that kindled my interest in the wider area. I did a recce of the area on 16 Jan 22.
It seems there is some interest from the various Canberra walking clubs, with last Wednesday’s Wednesday Walk coming in from Mt Stromlo to Stringybark Hill and next Saturday NPA ACT hosting a guided nature walk with local experts. Let’s hope that this interest garners more support for the preservation of this area.
Today was just a walk, as I’m no flora and fauna expert. Check out the BB FB page for some glorious pictures of the area’s inhabitants.
We walked NW on the main fire trail from the white gate and took the first fire trail on the left. Along it for a couple of hundred metres until a suitable fence crossing was spied. Then a bit of a circuitous route to Stringybark Hill, only because I’d come this way caching before. I should have listened more closely to one of the party who was here last Wednesday – the best route to Stringybark Hill and its yellow survey posts is to continue on up the fire trail! Great views, including to the Tidbinbilla Range and through to Mt Taylor in another direction.
We next continued in a NW direction down a spur and across a little gully.
Up the other side to knoll 3.
And knoll 4.
After the fifth knoll we headed SE to pick up a fence line and paralleled it back to the main fire trail at a point which is blocked due to the clearing work for the next stage of Denman Prospect.
A huge contrast to the quiet woodland and open grassland we’d been traversing – bare and noisy.
We retreated back into the bush, inscribing a NW, SW arc. There were handy animal pads to follow – I was looking for signs of a fire trail as shown below on my old maps. We popped out on the main fire trail, near to where we’d earlier turned left. We then returned to the blocked edge of construction.
From here, my plan was to walk down towards the end of Holborow Ave, then return up along the parallel-ish fire trails to the start. I think this is the area described in current BB FB posts that developers want to reclassify for additional building. Things started off ok.
But the gully was full of blackberries and I don’t think my companions were too pleased with their route finder! With hindsight (or foresight?) there may have been a less scratchy crossing a hundred metres or so up-gully.
A bit of fire trail, a bit of off-track and more trail saw us back at the cars.
The best track map is available via AllTrails (where you can pan and zoom). But here it is.
Here’s the track map on my old TopoView 2006 maps.
Thanks folks, sorry about the blackberries!
11 wakers – Susan C, Gavin F, Richard H, Salih O and Jenny A, Phillip S, Di T, Ana T, Ian and Lucinda T, me.