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Published February 10th 2016
See Victor's famous Clydesdales in their natural environment
For many years the Inman River formed the southern side boundary around Port Victor and when combined with the Hindmarsh River to the north, they both operated in unison to keep the peace within the developing town and to ensure that the majority of visitors only came and went via boat. In recent years, the peace has been maintained, and the Inman River forms a significant place within Victor Harbor as a home to rare fish, breeding birds and those beautiful resting Clydesdales that we all know and love.
First crossed by Captain Collett Barker in 1831 and named after Henry Inman, South Australia's first Police commander, the Inman River retained its status as a water barrier until the early 1860's when the Main Road Bridge was built across the river near its exit in to the sea.
Today the Inman River fulfils its role as an important estuary and floodplain by playing host to the river, woodlands, birdlife, fish, scenery and numerous points of interest with a walking trail providing riverside access for walkers. The Inman River Walking Trail commences at Kent Reserve, at the junction of the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail and Tourist Drive 56 and takes walkers along a scenic 8km return walk.
Encounter Bikeway crossing the Inman River - Steve Hudson
Kent Reserve was originally a camping ground of the Ramindjeri people who would descend upon this ground during the warmer months. Today the reserve features playground and picnic equipment, and is a popular resting place for cyclists on the Encounter Bikeway.
Heading in a northerly direction, the trail follows the western side of the river and takes walkers past a large estuary where birds nest and breed, and generally shelter in an environment protected by large trees and difficult-to-pass embankments.
Before long the trail reaches Barker Reserve, named after Captain Collett Barker where a monument, information boards and toilet facilities provide items of interest at this first place of rest. The reserve is alongside the Main Road bridge whose predecessor was built in 1863 to allow access to Port Victor to farmers from the Inman Valley and beyond.
The trail descends to river level and continues on the western side of the river past the Victor Harbor Oval and the Anzac Bridge (Kullaroo Bridge) before entering area known as the Inman River Billabong Loop. Remnants of an old bridge that was burnt in the 1983 bushfires are visible. This part of the trail takes walkers around low lying lands where during winter a number of rare and vulnerable species of fish are known to breed.
Next up on the trail is a familiar sight for all visitors to Victor Harbor being the Clydesdale horses whom are grazing in some paddocks which have become their rest and recreation home for when they are not on duty dragging the tram across the causeway to and from Granite Island.
Nearby a large floodplain consisting of numerous old Red Gums and drooping Sheoaks creates a remarkable contrast in colour and activity between the dry summers and wet winters that are experienced in the area. The colours of the wildflowers are maginificent during spring and summer, while much of the activity is taken up by birds with the camouflaged bird hide on top of a small crest providing a chance to relax for a moment and catch a glimpse of something rare.
The Trail progresses through the floodplain and comes to an intersection where a short walk along Henderson Road past the swamplands of the Inman River leads walkers to the Victor Harbor Cemetery which was first established in 1860 with many members of pioneering families buried there.
The Cemetery marks the end of the 4km walking trail, with the majority of walkers returning as they came but bypassing the two looping parts of the trail. The walking trail is open every day, noting that parts of are difficult to traverse following heavy winter rains. Excellent signage throughout ensures walkers will struggle to get lost, but for those susceptible there are brochures available from the Visitor Information Centre or online.