Fernhill Escarpment - Albany (North)
Walk status: Off Lead
Fernhill Escarpment is well hidden in Albany. You've probably driven alongside it without ever realising what's hidden in there. Turns out there was a cow hidden in there, but ill get to that soon!
Parking up at Northwood Ave gives you a few different route options. There is a sign at the entrance giving you reference to the different tracks. There is also a children's playground located here too.
The sign shows dogs on-lead, but everyone we saw that day had their dogs off-lead. I'm currently making enquiries with council on what the status is, and also trying to find entrance to one of the walks on the map so ill update this post as I get answers. See update at the bottom of this post.
George and I headed along the pathway to the left, over the small little bridge and into a large area of open field. Not really knowing where we were going, we headed down the open field to the back area which looked to have a clearing into the bush. This bush track is marked as 'Northwood Brookfield", the dark blue line.
A short walk through the bush and you get to an area that could be hard to navigate for some people - check out the photos. After crossing the water, you head back up hill and further along the bush track to your right.
We soon reached an area that had been blocked off, but yet still seemed to allow access. The warning signs said the track had been closed for safety, but the only area thats blocked is the area where you cross the water. We chanced it, and crossed and didn't see any issues so im not sure why it's closed. However in heavy rain or winter when the water rises quickly, I would be looking for an alternative route.
On the other side of the water, we headed left to join the track called 'River Walk' that would eventually lead us up to the main road, opposite Albany Senior High School. You'll hear the road noise as you approach the end of the track, and while its not right next to the road, you'll want to ensure your dog is on a lead before reaching the end.
The plan was to then head onto the track named 'Top Track', however we popped out at the end of the track and walked the track alongside the road for a bit, and explored around some of the areas of bush near there and couldn't find any obvious track. I've queried this with council as to where its accessed, so again will update this post when I get an answer.
In the end we headed back the same way we came, but at the area of water that was blocked off, we went straight ahead to stay on 'River Walk'. I had spotted some fresh looking cow pats on the walk, and had read when researching this walk that cows were in the bush. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and what id do if we actually encountered one. Didn't have to ponder it for long, as taking the River Walk path on our way back put us face to face with a rather solid looking black cow with horns. On a narrow bush track with a dog that doesn't understand his true size was less than ideal.
Not really sure whether I should attempt to get past it or not, I turned us around and went back the same way we came, through the blocked off area and back along the Northwood Brookfield track we started on. When we reached the area of water that was difficult to navigate I noticed there was a small wooden bridge at the top that allowed us to carry on down a different path instead of crossing the water again. This took us out to a large grass clearing which was next to the field where we started.
After walking the field for a short distance, you'll come across a small wooden bridge on the left. If you cross this bridge it brings you right back to the original field you started in. You'll then be able to see the bridge you crossed, back to the children's playground and where you parked.
This walk was just short of an hour, and thats with us going off track to try and find access to others and taking photos so you could probably do it in less than that. Be careful walking through the bush as some of the paths are very narrow, tree roots stick out and mountain bikers use these trails. Not to mention the odd cow loitering round a corner.
Location: End of Northwood Ave, Albany
Things to know:
There are no toilets here
There is a children's playground at the Northwood Avenue entrance
Plenty of street parking available
Other options for walks available here, see sign at entrance or in photos provided for other alternatives
I am not familiar with the track but I have looked on my database. I include a map of the tracks. At the Albany highway the track turns into the university footpath and is on their land. It appears they have a paddock with cattle in. One of them must have escaped.
I will check the sign about dogs. Previously they were meant to be on a leash on a footpath or track. A recent change to the dog bylaws has allowed dogs to be off leash in any park. I will inform our animal management team about the cow and they maybe able to contact the grazier.
Note: The map supplied by council shows the track running alongside the grazing land. However I tried up there and couldn't get through as it was very overgrown and someone had attempted to fence off what looked like the pathway. If anyone does try this walk and finds the path, I would love an update on it.