Born in Yorkshire, raised in Shropshire, travelled the world. Lived in Adelaide and currently in UK. Love travel, ancient history, horses, cello playing, the unusual and obscure, and pottering in my own back yard. Visit my website www.wadders.co.uk
Tucked away in Mitcham's leafy suburbs, Brownhill Creek Recreational Park is a veritable wonderland with a babbling brook, majestic trees, an array of wildlife and Aboriginal and pioneer history to boot. Furthermore, it offers a number of walking options depending on your time, energy and fitness levels.
At the entrance to the park on Brownhill Creek Road on the right-hand side, there is a wide recreational space with a magnificent oak tree in the middle. There are several parking areas within the park, including the Mitcham Lions Club picnic area, which has shady picnic tables and water available. There is a wide, wheelchair-friendly path along the side of the road, and this is shared with horses and bikes.
For the time-poor but energy-rich, the Peter Nelson Walking Trail - clearly signposted on the left-hand side about 100m from the park entrance - takes you on a steep walk/scramble up the valley side to McElligotts Quarry. From here you can either walk along Carrick Hill Drive, turn left into Hoggs Road which will bring you back onto Brownhill Creek Road, or for a longer walk, follow the red Yurrabilla trail arrows to the top of the ridge. After admiring the great views, turn left and walk along the ridge to a metal mast. Turn left again to walk down to the historic Carrick Hill House. The longer walk will take about an hour.
If you're after a meander up a gentle incline following a trickling brook in enchanting surroundings, Brownhill Creek is perfect. The Kaurna Aborigines used the area for camping and gathering grounds, and in the caravan park there is a massive old river red gum which they used as a shelter. Although the creek is only 3km long, it is lined with a variety of trees and the creeper-covered willows trailing into the stream give a fantasy-land setting to some areas.
The not-so-romantic crumbling manure pits about 1.5km up the creek are monuments to the market gardeners who after taking their produce to market then returned with horse manure for fertiliser. They were built 110 years ago to stop the storage piles from fouling the creek that flowed to leafy villages below. Across the ford was a Baptist chapel school-room built in 1874, now replaced by a pise, or rammed earth, house.
The path begins a steep ascent up the gully and you eventually join Pony Ridge Road and can walk to Belair NP. But for the moderate walker, I suggest you turn around before the ascent, enjoy the gentle downhill walk and grab refreshment at the Brown Hill Creek Caravan Park kiosk.