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River walk a tribute to Dorrigo community

Crown land
Weeds and river
What the weeds looked like prior to clearing.

Dorrigo residents are enjoying a prized new community asset after a group of volunteers spent the past two-and-half years transforming weed-infested land along the Bielsdown River into a scenic nature walk.

The project has turned an area of unformed Crown road into a popular feature for the town.

The Bielsdown River Walk has become a special asset for Dorrigo providing a three-kilometre return walk from the village along the riverfront.

Community volunteers, including from Dandarrga Landcare, have worked hard to remove weeds including privet, honeysuckle and blackberry and replant native species with support from Dorrigo Community Nursery to create a beautiful nature trail from Ash Street to the local weir.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson thanked the volunteers, who have been granted a Crown Land’s environmental licence and have earnt an Australia Day award, for their toil in weather from extreme wet, to drought and frosty winters.

Native plantings alongside river
Native species have been planted on the walk.

“The Bielsdown River Walk area is home to platypus, ducks, water dragons and birds including wrens, finches and black cockatoos, providing a relaxing outing that also has views of heritage landmarks like the old butter factory and pumping station,” Mr Anderson said.

Bielsdown River Walk volunteer Rohan Chiswell said weeds in sections of the land were ‘virtually impenetrable’ when work first started obscuring views of the river.

“About 350 native plants including wattles and tea trees have been propagated from local seed and planted as pioneer vegetation and, once we have some density, primary species will be planted like Antarctic beech, white beech and cedar.

“We want to create a rainforest micro-climate to protect against frost, and we are also rehabilitating areas with casuarinas to provide habitat for threatened species such as the glossy black cockatoo,” Mr Chiswell said.

“Some perch seating has been installed so people can sit and reflect during their visit. It is incredible how many people are now using the walk each day.”