Nice rural scene north west of Denman Prospect
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2022 05 06 Bluetts Block Recce 2

This was a 5.0Km recce walk near the Molonglo River in Canberra Australia. It was relatively easy although with issues on access and safety. The walk was around Bluetts Block an area near an expanding suburb that some want to preserve. Actually most of the walk concentrated on the Stringybark Hill section


Featured image – View from Stringybark Hill north west over Molonglo Valley

Pictures in Google Photos

This walk was a follow up on a previous walk to reverify that it was still feasible as a walk for a Melba (Mens) Shed walk.

My Bluetts Block walk was based on information from John Evans walks (you know Johnny Boy of the CBC!).

I accessed the area by driving from Belconnen through Denman Prospect and then along Uriarra Road until I could park near a gate to the old pine forest area. Details for this route are:- Access is via John Gorton Drive over Coppins Crossing old bridge, then turning right at the 2nd set of lights near a school then on to Wyndham Ave (note it has a 40kph school zone) then left at a T intersection & along Kondelea Way, then right onto Coaldrake Ave to the roundabout then right along Uriarra Rd to park on right opposite Stromlo Forest Park Western Car park.

I started by walking north east until I reached Gate 2 (G2 on the map). There are some signs on the gate that suggest you can’t enter but carefully looking at the map photos its clear the area restricted is a fair way from where I was. It looks like the restricted area starts near the Gate point downhill from The Top point shown on my map. So I went through the Gate 2 and walked along the main trail until I reached the point J2 3way Jn. I then turned left and headed along a track that goes most of the way to Stringybark Hill. Two thirds of the way to the hill it turned into a grassy footpad.

At the top it turned out to have a Trig Point on its northern side, Point ST83. John Evans has called this hill Stringybark Hill. It provides views 360 degrees around although its best to go 50 m+ on its south west ridgeline extension to get views out that way.

From these spots there were beautiful views to the NW around Stockdill Drive area and even west to the Brindabellas. There was a large rural property just to the NW of the site and I guess its a likely site for further Suburban growth. From the 1:25000 map this property is Piney Creek, with Spring Valley Farm a further 1km or so to its north. I also had great views back over Molonglo to Black Mountain and Woden.

Map of walk Bluetts Block Recce

I also noticed a distinctive ridge heading NE down towards the Molonglo River and areas that where you could hear bulldozers clearing land. I noted that John Evans had gone down there and gps’d various knolls numbering them 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. I had previously come up from that way and climbed up onto the ridgeline passing knolls 2 & 1.

I decided to go down the ridge again past knolls 1 & 2 and then look for a nice way back up the valley to regain my route in.

So I did walk down the ridgeline and swung a little but further west to get around a fence the past knolls 1 & 2 and continued on down the ridgeline which starts to drop away. I came across a bit of a footpad later thinking it was a roo pad as I saw quite a few roos and some wallabies. I followed around to the east in a semi-circle ending up near a fenceline that went back up the hill to knoll 2. I then went down the fenceline to a nice small narrow valley that flowed nearly north south. I followed the valley north staying on the west side and noticing that the gully in the middle had now turned into a small creek. I continued down until reaching another fence where I could see open grassland past the fence to the north west. I decided that was far enough today but I noticed that the roos had created a small cutting across the gully right on the fenceline, so I followed that down across the dry creek now and on the east side of the valley. The fenceline continued but more in a north east direction. I could have tried to climb Knolls 3 & 4 but decided to leave that for another time.

It was an easy walk back up the little valley but on the east side noticing several pools of water in the creek as I climbed gently back up to the south. I recrossed the creek near where I had joined it earlier and continued south over an open slightly wet grassy surface reaching an old dam or pond then continuing to cross another fenceline in 100m and then reaching the track I had used to reach Stringybark Hill. Instead of going back the same way I went across the track and turned left or south and followed a very faint pad turning eventually south east past rock outcrops and through medium density woodland eventually reaching the main trail that I had come on. I was fairly sure that the trail I had come on was roo created.

I then went back to Gate 2 where I had largely started. Just to be sure we could do a Shed walk I then went north west from inside G2 around 100m until I could find an opening through the dense scrub that lined the powerline road I was on. It appeared to me that they had done a burn off along this trail down to Uriarra Rd. However the bushland on the Bluetts Block side was untouched.

I now walked in an open woodland scenario and followed my instincts from my first walk here to get close to where I had just come from after leaving that nice valley. The aim was to be able to walk from the cars along this latter route then up to Stringybark Hill, along the earlier route over the knolls and back up the valley and take the route I had started on. This would be better for the Shed guys as my original route in required a couple of steepish climbs along the main trail. I think this latter concept is nicer and gives them an opportunity to walk through non tracked open bushland which is clean and not inflicted with fallen trees or blackberries.

After getting back to Gate 2 I turned left or south east then east for 300-400m and stopped to look at an old large pond. It was heavily surrounded by blackberries and a few pine trees had regrown after the fires and now dotted the landscape. The road down here was very wet and I had to deviate around blackberry patches to make progress.

I then returned to my car. I had walked 5.0Km.

One sign I saw on a post said that Bluett’s Block may also be known as Piney Ridge or Stringy Bark Hill. Their poster also advertised Bluetts Block Canberra in Facebook where one can see many objections to developments at this location.

This was an Easy Medium walk of 5.0Km, taking about 1 hr 51m, 10.15AM to 12.06PM.

Map of Bluetts Block walk | Pictures in Google Photos | files including gps located in Google Drive 

Notes re Map:  GPS Map View provided using Garmin Mapsource an Ozraster base | The area of the walk is covered by the NSW 1:25,000 topo map CANBERRA

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