Railway Reserves Heritage Trail - Darlington to Glen Forrest
Updated: Feb 6, 2020
The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail loops between Bellevue and Mt Helena with both a northern and southern trail. While previously we have walked the northern trail notably within John Forrest National Park and through the Swan View Tunnel we only recently discovered the southern trail exists and it is well worth a visit!
We started at Darlington at Little Nook Cafe directly opposite the trail which is a great place for a drink and a meal either end of your walk. The picturesque drive down Darlington Road from Great Eastern Highway gives you an inkling of what a special place Darlington is.
Having little legs with us we opted to do the 2.5km trail to Glen Forrest and return, leaving other sections to explore another day. The older kids took off on their bikes to ride the trail and ended up riding 12 km each way, overtaking us midway on our return walk.
Parking is available at the trail entrance on the old Darlington Train Station site. You can still see the edge of the Darlington Railway Platform and although the buildings are long gone there are signs showing you where the buildings were located. There is also an informative sign with historical notes on the Rail Trail. Another sign can be found at Glen Forrest.
The walk took us 40 minutes each way and the 4 year old managed just fine with an extended stop in Glen Forrest to play on the train themed playground at Morgan John Morgan Park, known locally as The Train Park. . The playground includes a large train engine for the kids to play on. There is a full playground, spider web, musical toys and swings including a birds's nest swing. There are barbecues and picnic benches and a toilet block is located nearby. Behind the toilet block are the Community Gardens if you wish to explore these.
Being the old railway this trail is flat and wide with a very gentle uphill gradient going towards Glen Forrest and downhill on the return. We couldn’t feel the incline walking but could see the bike riders putting in some effort going towards Glen Forrest and then cruising swiftly by heading back to Darlington. There were not too many bikes but do be careful as the ones going downhill go fast!!! It was easy to push the stroller along the path although it was a little bumpy in places for the passenger. There were plenty of people out and about often walking their dogs both on and off the lead. The dogs looked like they were having an absolutely marvellous time!
The trail follows a babbling brook (after heavy rains it was flowing very nicely mid August but it may run dry over summer) and is generally shaded by large trees. Although the trail itself is flat the railway was built up so there are quite steep slopes either side of the trail in some sections. There are a couple of bridges - one of which was a great place for playing pooh sticks! The waterfalls and small rapids provided points of interest and kept the kids going as they ran off to discover what was around the next corner. We stopped to listen to the frogs croaking in the puddles on the side of the trail but couldn't spot them. We did see lots of tadpoles though as well as some swimming spiders and plenty of busy ants.
The kids picked up some "walking" sticks and enjoyed decorating them with leaves and flowers picked up along the way. The wattle is out in bloom and looks amazing.
The historic town of Darlington has a Village Walkabout Trail which takes in the locations of historic sites (note - many of the sites no longer exist) and older buildings. This trail takes about 40 minutes to complete and goes up and down the hilly streets of Darlington.
See also the blog on the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail from Darlington to Glen Forrest.