Another hidden gem in our fine Perth Hills is the magnificent Churchman Brook Dam. We discovered it by sheer flukiness after I spent an entire week indoors with sick, snotty children, rainy, freezing cold weather, bad tv and a sad little depleted stock of alcohol. I could take no more and thusly dragged the family out. Fresh air was the medicine and the medicine was going to be good even if the germ infested cherubs protested.
Before we left my son was in a karate chopping, knight jumping, back talking kind of mood and had insisted his shield, sword, ninja skills and cheek join us in the car. My baby girl was also exerting her thoughts on the rudeness of being interrupted, in an extended screech-fest just for the journey. I could actually see several hairs on my husband's head surrender their colour and turn a strained shade of grey. One could say the car trip was slightly challenging on the nerves and on the single itsy-bitsy shred of sanity we despairingly cling, too. But thankfully a little alluring foresty/dam magic conjured by the hippie spirits guided us along Soldiers Road and all was forgotten when we stepped out of the car.
The reservoir was impressive and vast (though unfortunately a little low) and the quiet calm of the hypnotic crystal blue water gives you no choice but to stop and be still. The lack of noise is refreshing even with kids. The views from the dam wall are astounding and the mammoth heights of the surrounding forest, humbling.
Walking across the dam wall there is a trail veering to the left full of bush discoveries waiting to be explored. My sword wielding little nun chucker certainly got his fill of earthy goodness - scuffing up dirt, climbing logs and rocks and manoeuvring branches and sticks like Gandalf himself.
The trail is short and steady for the first half, then a little steep and bumpy from then on. I took my all-terrain pram which did make for less traumatic trekking, however there are plenty of opportunities to turn around and go back towards the wall if need be. It's a lovely walk regardless.
There are picnic spots a-plenty at this place. Choose your backdrop and you won't be disappointed. There are lovely grassed areas with free bbq facilities and gazebos near the spillway and three lots of public toilets which were clean enough and fully stocked. Check out this fantastic webpage for people with disabilities and seniors.
There is a glorious, grassed open space and a great playground that favours a little bit of a new/old school vibe. The jury is still out on whether my husband and I are parenting geniuses or just plain mean by going to all the "natural playgrounds" before we unleash our kids on the "plastic fantastic" varieties so loved by many a whipper snapper.
Today we went to spend the day at Churchman Dam, followed your address to Soldiers Road Byford and could not find it. After a quick google it is actually Soldiers Road Rolystone, not Byford. Same street name but different suburb. We eventually found it but its approx another 20 minutes north east, past Armadale.
Lovely spot when we eventually got there!