Hunter Valley Walks: Abernethy & Kitchener

abernethy

  • Distance: 2-7 km
  • Time: 1 hour+
  • Summary: Two interesting walks that take you to abandoned coal mining sites with remaining equipment providing an insight into some of the history of mining in the area. Generally uneven terrain following trails through the bush

Start by driving to Abernethy (near Cessnock) and park at the end of Ferguson street just past the (impressive) Abernethy Hotel which must have been strategically built just there to cater for thirsty miners on their way home from work!

There are no signs for a walk or the abandoned site but just follow the trail that goes straight ahead. Go past the first turn-off to your left but take the second one. This is a trail that may be suitable for a 4 wheel drive but not after wet weather, and it looks to be frequented by trail bikes. Walking downwards you’ll soon spot the tall chimney, but first you will reach the old winding house for the Aberdare South Colliery which was in operation between 1913 and 1927. Half the roof is missing and it has been neglected, but the brickwork is still impressive and you get an impression of previous grandeur. Go to the right and follow a trail around and once it loops back you will get to the site of the old shaft which has been appropriately covered and cemented. Continue on to the chimney which looks to have a few cracks in it and may not be standing for many more years.

Then walk down towards the dam and walk around it with the dam on your left. It is quite idyllic with ducks swimming and lots of birds in the bush. On the other side you need to turn right and then walk back up to the main trail which is the first intersection you walked past on the way in. Turn right again and you’ll be back at the car (this walk is about 2km long)

abernethy with dam

Next, drive down to Kitchener which is sign posted from Ferguson street (left turn) – it is less than 4 km and will take you about 5 minutes. The Poppet head Reserve is fairly obvious with its restored Poppet head (i.e. winding tower above the mine shaft) dominating the park. This belonged to the Aberdare Central Colliery which was in operation between 1914-1961. The poppet head and the surrounding park with facilities were restored by local enthusiasts in the 1990s. With the poppet head at KItchener and the winding house and chimney at Abernethy you get a good feel for how a mine site was set up and operated in the last century. There is an excellent playground and barbecue facilities in the park and extensive coverage of the restoration project is displayed.

kitchener

There are two walking trails at the Poppet head Reserve; a short one (1.5km) around the adjoining dam, again teeming with ducks and birdlife, and a longer one (5km) that goes through the bushland.

Map of Abernethy walk and Map of short Poppet head walk

Advertisements

Maitland Walk # 19: Bolwarra

Bolwarra 2

  • Distance: 4.2 km /6057 steps
  • Time: ~ 45 min
  • Summary: This is a nice easy walk through the quiet neighbourhood of Bolwarra. There is an eclectic mix of housing; from modest cottages to mansions, some dating from the late 1800s and some brand new, architectural styles ranging from federation style to the very modern and anything in between. All on pavement so great for wheels and also fine to do in the wet.

Park by the Bolwarra sporting complex on Victoria road, Bolwarra.  It is to the left, off Paterson road if coming from Maitland and is signposted.

Walk down Victoria road back towards Paterson road and turn right when you get there. There is ample space to walk alongside the road but traffic can get heavy at times.  Continue down until you get to Bolwarra road on your right.  Go down here, past Bolwarra public school and then turn left down Maitland road.  This is a dead end but there is a cycle/pedestrian path that will take you past the horse paddocks and dams, and back alongside Paterson road.

Continue along until you see Westbourne road and turn right down here.  There are some stately old homes along here, mostly hidden behind the lush foliage but with grandeur evidenced by glimpses of tennis courts and impressive gold-plated gates. You’ll also walk past a war memorial (see photo below). At the end of the road your only option is to turn right up Kensington road.  When you reach Bayswater road you need to zigzag right and then left to continue on Kensington road.

At the end you will be back on Bolwarra road and turn right.  Once you get to the abandoned bus, turn left up Kings road.  The sporting fields will be on your right and on your left you get a nice view across open fields and a small lake, towards the new housing developments at Bolwarra heights. As the road loops around it turns into Victoria road and it takes you back to where you parked your car.  Please see link for map of Bolwarra walk

Bolwarra 1

Maitland Walk # 13: Largs

largs 1

  • Distance: 4.3km/ 6171 steps
  • Time: ~ 45 min
  • Suitability: An interesting walk around the historic settlement of Largs which has an eclectic mix of buildings; from very old through to new and modern housing. Largs was settled in the early 19th century and boasts the oldest public school in New South Wales. Wheels may struggle through the numerous reserves.

Park at Ernie Jurd oval at Largs Park, just off Largs avenue.

Exit the parking lot onto Largs avenue and turn right.  Walk up to Credela street, turn right and then right again onto Parklands road at the bottom of the hill.  This ends in a cul-de-sac but you’ll find a paved pathway that will lead you through to High street.  Cross over and walk down Morpeth street until you get to Largs public school.  This was established in 1838 and is the oldest public school in the state.

Turn right down Hunter street and right again on Church street. Walk past the Guides hall and the Church of the Holy Family and continue until you get back to High street. Turn left at High street and walk down to Dalveen road, you’ll pass another historic school on your right; the School of Arts from 1878.  Turn right and walk along Dalveen road, past a modern house built on stilts and further along with farmland on one side and well-established housing on the other side.

At the bottom of a small hill, just before the road splits in two, there is a reserve on your right.  Walk through here and you will now be in Stanley close.  Turn right and walk down to April circuit.  Turn right, then left down Betula avenue and then immediately left again up Alyce close.  You will shortly see a reserve on your right, walk through here and you will get through to Robina close, cross over and walk through another reserve onto a pathway which will take you through to Ribbonwood close. Cross over and you will see another pathway that will take you through to Largs Avenue. Turn left and walk back to where you parked your car.

Please see link for map of walk Map of Largs walk

Maitland Walk # 8: Lorn

Lorn

  • Distance: 4.0 km/5714 steps
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Suitability: Lovely walk around the historic village of Lorn with its tree-lined streets and beautiful older style homes, perfect for history buffs! Some sections are across uneven terrain so challenging for those with wheels.

This walk starts at the public car park accessed from the Avenue, clearly signposted as soon as you come across Belmore bridge into Lorn.

Walk up the little path to Belmore road and turn left. Cross over the Esplanade towards the bridge and turn left onto the foot path going down towards the river.  You will quickly run out of footpath but continue across the grassy area alongside the river keeping to the right of the horse paddock.  Soon you will find another bit of the footpath, but only for a few metres before it disappears underneath a tree and bushes.  It reappears on the other side and this happens again a bit further along before you get a continuous stretch up to Bowden street.  Continue straight on and keep to the right until you run out of road, walk across the grassy area and on your left you will see a small opening through to Stuart street.  Walk up Roy street until the end, turn left and follow Sharkies lane up to Short street.  Turn left and walk down to Kings street, turn left down here and walk past some lovely houses and colourful gardens until you get to Allan street.  Turn right and walk over to Belmore street, turn right again and walk up to Warrane street (cross over).  You will see Lorn Bowls Club at the end of the street.  Follow the road around the Club to the right, enter Keith Smith reserve and continue around the cricket oval, past the grandstand and keep wlaking until you get to the first road on your right; Nillo Street. Walk down this street, follow it as it bends around and then turn right onto Melrose street.  Walk straight ahead until you get to the end with a nice view of the Hunter river.  Continue along Brisbane street to Belmore road and check out the fantastic knitted fruit display at the Newsagent on the corner! Cross over the road and go back down the path to the car park. Please see link below for a map of the walking route. Map of Lorn walk

If you are interested in history and want to know more about some of the beautiful old houses in this part of town, Maitland tourist office has a brochure for a heritage walk in Lorn which follows a similar route and with historical facts about certain buildings and features.