Ken Jones and Tallow Wood Trails Langford Park Jarrahdale
On arrival at Langford Park in Jarrahdale the car park was quiet with just a few mountain bikers unloading their bikes. With map in hand (purchased from the Jarrahdale Heritage Society website) we headed to the information bay to read up about the site’s history as a bauxite mine in the early 1960’s and then for timber felling. My first impression of the forest was that there had been a planned burn through here as there is a complete lack of understory with the rows of blackened trees marching into the distance in parallel lines.
We climbed the stairs and turned right to the lookout where the trails split. We decided to follow the Ken Jones Trail first, heading anti-clockwise. First passing through she-oaks (Casuarinas) we then passed a massive King Jarrah stump and some Snottygobble trees so named for their yellow green fruit which looks and apparently tastes like snot. This bush tucker plant has a weeping foliage and flaky bark. It’s botanical name Persoonia longifolia refers to it’s long slender sickle shaped leaves.
We descended the steps into Alcoa’s first bauxite pit of 1963 and then back up again into the forest passing a stand of beautiful sugar gums. Native to South Australia these trees have mottled yellow to orange bark and smooth grey old bark which sheds in irregular patches. Flowers are creamy-white in summer.
We continued along the Ken Jones Trail through an avenue of tallow wood trees. These trees, also introduced from the east coast, have yellow–brown wood with tinges of olive green. The bark is rough and reddish-brown in colour and does not shed. Tallow woods were planted as a rehabilitation tree due to their resistance to dieback.
We walked a short distance along the ex haul road past spotted gums, another tree introduced from Eastern Australia. This is a stately tree which grows straight and tall. The bark sheds in summer and is smooth and creamy in colour with grey spots from the older bark, providing contrast and interest with its mottled appearance.
We descended another staircase into an old pit now planted with a blue gum grove. Another introduced species, blue gums have a smooth trunk and are grey-white in the upper part, and rough and deeply furrowed near the base.
Back along the ex haul road for another section we passed a pine plantation before emerging back through tallow wood trees leading to the barbecue area. We searched for the play area marked on the map to no avail but did enjoy seeing kids playing in the forest alongside the car park building cubbies and engaging in stick play.
The trail markers for the trails run anti-clockwise and the trail was easy to follow. The Ken Jones Trail is listed as 4.5km long on the Jarrahdale info but only 2.5km on Trails WA. We walked it in 45 minutes so think it is only 2.5km – perhaps it is 4.5 including the 2 km Tallow wood Trail which we did not end up walking. This was a pleasant walk and I ended up learning a lot about different trees after looking them up post walk - although most are introduced from the Eastern States as they are dieback resistant. It is not what I would call a bush walk as there is no understorey and the rows of planted trees gives the park a plantation feel. It also raised many questions about mining as rehabilitation works here clearly have not reinstated the bush to a natural state.
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For more to explore in this area read my blog A Day in the Country - Jarrahdale and Serpentine
In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
As always when hiking in the bush please help to reduce the spread of Phytophthora Dieback by sticking to the tracks and paths, staying out of quarantined areas and, if possible, clean your shoes before and after hiking. A spray of 70% methylated spirit and 30% water can be effective.