Riverhead Forest - Hell Walk Take #2
Walk status: Off-lead
Our first walk in Riverhead Forest is a route I named 'Hell Walk' mainly because it was coming out of winter and the forest tracks were still really muddy. By the time we reached the worst of the track it seemed too late to turn back so we waded through ankle deep mud that couldn't be avoided. Ever since then, ive thought I should give the walk another chance but wait till the weather had improved.
The weather had been raining on and off for the last few days, so I hadn't actually intended to do the full walk today, but we ended up walking it anyway.
We entered via Browns Road, off Old North Road. You'll pass one clearing on the right hand side, thats 'Road to Nowhere' that ive documented. Continue along Browns Road until you get to the second clearing on the right hand side. We exited here last time we did this walk, so instead I decided we would do the opposite and enter here instead.
The Foresty Road track starts off ok, although because the forest is clay some areas can be slippery even after a bit of rain. You can usually side step the worst of the muddy areas, and thankfully although certain parts of this walk were really muddy, they weren't nearly as bad as the first time I did it!
Soon enough the track starts heading downhill and you'll reach a fork in the road. Technically Foresty Road heads straight down, which leads you out to the entrance of Deacon Road where we often park for other walks. However the state of this part of the track is pretty rugged. The photo doesn't really do it justice as to how bad it looks. Unless you're really keen, id be giving this one a miss and heading left at the fork like we did. Now you're actually heading off the official track so GPS will show you walking through the forest not on a path. Horses and walkers have flattened the path through here so its pretty easy to see what direction to head.
Eventually I spotted Deacon Road, and just because I was determined to see where we actually popped out, we went off the track and pushed through down past a tree and through some bush to make it out onto the road. I had planned to just walk the road from here and loop back round on Link Road and Barlow - which you can do if you want to avoid going back onto muddy forest trails. It would also make the walk slightly longer.
A few steps up the road and on the left is another entry to another Foresty Road track. George thought this seemed like a better plan, so I followed my navigator and off we went back into the forest. Had you not gone off road onto Deacon Road like we had, you would loop round to this track anyway. Now you've walked all this way coming downhill, so you pretty much have to assume that this path is going to be all uphill, and you wouldn't be wrong. There are also mud hazards and fallen trees. All of which can be avoided but its a reminder that these forest tracks aren't the easiest so be prepared to get dirty, or try and find ways to avoid the hazards.
Following the track up hill you'll reach the end which brings you out into a forest clearing. You'll want to head right at this point, up the hill (again!) as this will lead you up to Barlow. Once you reach the main road, turn left to loop back round to the intersection of Barlow and Browns Road. Once you reach the intersection, head left and follow the road back to the main entrance and where you parked.
Taking the route we did takes around an hour and is approx 5km in total. It factors in some slower walking in the slippery parts and navigating some hazards so you could walk it faster on a good day. Having walked this from both directions now, I actually think this way is easier to navigate, so if its your first time doing this trail, id suggest doing it this way.
Location: Browns Road entrance, located off Old North Road
Carparking is limited, as there is a just a gravel lay by off Old North Road to turn into and park up. There is no suitable parking on Old North Road.
Things to know:
There are no toilets here
The gate is locked to vehicles, but walkers and bike riders still have access.
Browns Road > Foresty Road > Deacon Road > Foresty Road > Barlow Road > Browns Road