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 #20: Tenambit

tenambit

  • Distance: 4.6km / 6629 steps
  • Time: ~ 50 min
  • Summary: A  nice walk through the suburb of Tenambit,
    both the older and newer parts. Quiet streets and beautiful jacaranda trees in
    bloom this time of year. Could be challenging with wheels in places due to lack
    of pavement.

Park by the Tenambit sports oval, just off Houston avenue.

Go left down Houston avenue and then left again down Jacob place. Go to the end and continue through the reserve along the golf course and you will get to Golf link road. Turn right up Tyrrells street, walk past Lena O’Brien park and Tenambit Community centre up to the t-section with Maize street. Turn left , walk past the shops and continue until you get to Chambers street on your right, just before going down the hill.

Go right, up to Thompson street and turn right again.  Walk along and Thompson street where you have some lovely views towards the mountains.  Thomson street turns into Collinson street and stay here until you get past Tenambit public school and turn left onto Edward street. Stay on Edward street and when it starts veering to the right it turns into Crofton avenue. Again, there are some lovely views across farmland towards the mountains.

Just down the hill, go left at Wirrah street and follow this until you reach Jenna drive. This is a newer subdivision with a fair bit of building going on, as well as still a few empty lots. Turn right and then left onto Laurie drive, and then right onto Riley James drive.  Follow this up the steep hill and around back to Jenna drive (right) and then turn left up Blackely avenue. This will take you through to Goldingham street, keep right and stay on this all the way back to Maize street and you will now see the Tenambit sports oval across the road.

Please see link for map of Tenambit walk

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 # 18: Bolwarra heights

Bolwarra heighst lookout

  • Distance:4.4km / 6286 steps
  • Time: ~ 45 min
  • Summary: A hilly walk around the developing suburb of Bolwarra heights.  Lots of new houses under construction and more lots for sale, so the outlook for this walk will be constantly changing for the next few years. All on the road or concrete paths so ideal for wheels.

Park at the Bolwarra Scenic Lookout .  This is clearly signposted and is on the right hand side of Paterson road (if coming from Maitland) as you are coming in to Bolwarra Heights.

After you have enjoyed the nice views from the look-out; back towards Maitland and the mountains beyond, cross over Paterson road and turn left along the path.  Go right at Hunterglen drive and first right down the hill on Highland way.  Take first left onto Amber grove and follow this all the way around until you get back onto Highland way. Despite being fairly densely populated there is enough bushland left for the local wildlife; a kangaroo was quietly munching on grass just off Highland way this morning! 

Continue to your left and when the road turns and starts going uphill you will see a cycle/pedestrian path going through the bushland reserve on your left.  Follow the path to the end and turn right up the very wide path going up the hill.  This will take you to Bolwarra park drive.  Go right and then left at the first intersection.  Follow the road around, and when you run out of road, turn left up Ridgetop close and then go down the path which will get you back to Bolwarra park drive.  Eventually you should be able to just stay on Bolwarra park drive all the way around but, at the time of writing, it was closed off due to construction activities. 

Continue down the hill and when you see the playground on your right, follow the path alongside it and this will take you to Hunterglen drive.  Now you just have a long steady climb up the hill to Paterson road and you’ll see the lookout a bit further down to your left.

Please see link for a map of Bolwarra heights walk

 

 

Maitland Walk # 17: Thornton

Thornton

  • Distance: 4.7km / 6686 steps
  • Time: ~50 min
  • Summary: This is a walk around the older parts of Thornton and seems a world away from the glossy neighbouring Somerset development (walk #16).  There’s a myriad of pathways connecting streets and it makes for a bit of a labyrinth. The paths are fairly old and cracked, and in some places over-grown, but should be ok for wheels.

Park at the Thornton shopping centre off Taylor avenue, in Thornton.

Walk across Taylor avenue and down the path through the bushland between Thornton public school and the housing development.  When you get to an open clearing and the path divides into two, continue on the path to the right.  Turn right again and walk up to Abercrombie close.  Walk past Wren close and then look for the path on your left which will take you through the bushland.  Stay on this path as it winds it way between the houses.  Few houses have fences around their gardens so it feels a bit like you’re going right through people’s back yard, but it is a public path!

When you get to Haussman drive, turn right and walk up to Taylor avenue and turn right again.  Walk down the street until you get to Sharp close on your left. Walk up here and turn right when you get to Evelyn crescent.  Stay on this as it curves around and ends at Arthur avenue.  Cross over and slightly to your right you’ll see a pathway.  Go down here and this will take you to Malthaus close. Walk down this street and turn right onto John Arthur avenue.

Stay on this for quite a while until you see Lincoln close on your left.  Walk down this short street and look for the path that will take you through to a wider pathway leading down to the sports-fields.  Before you get that far though, look for a path on your right which will take you through to Avard close.  Walk along here until the end where you get to Government road.  Turn right and then right again at the next intersection with Thomas Coke drive.

Turn left at Reilly street and, if you would like to combine this walk with walk # 16 Somerset, turn right down Elizabeth close and follow the route from there. (Walks # 16 and 17 combined like this will be a total of about 7.2km).  Otherwise, walk past Elizabeth close and look for a path on your right.  This will take you through to Holford crescent.  Turn left and left again, and then first right up Welwen crescent.  Look for a path once you have turned the corner.  This will take you through to Blakewell cresecent, cross over and slightly to your left you’ll see another pathway.  This will take you past the Thornton park oval and ends at the shopping centre where you parked your car.

Please link for map of Thornton walk

Maitland Walk # 16: Somerset

Somerset

  • Distance: 4.6km / 6629 steps
  • Time: ~ 50 minutes
  • Summary: A lovely walk around the newly established suburb of Somerset, part of
    Thornton.  Nice wide paths and beautifully kept reserves, including several duck ponds, make this a very pleasant stroll for feet and/or wheels.

Park at the Thornton shopping centre off Taylor avenue, in Thornton

Look for the path between the Thornton Park oval and the shopping centre and follow it down to Blakewell crescent.  Cross over and you’ll see another pathway a little to your right. This takes you to Welwen crescent.  Turn right and once you have turned the corner, look for a pathway on your right which will take you through to Government road.  Turn left and left again onto Reilly street.  Walk up here and then right down Elizabeth close.  At the end you’ll see a pathway that will take you through to Government road.  Cross over and turn right and keep left as the road splits in two and you should see a path on your left.

Walk down here and go left as the path splits. This takes you to the first of the three duck ponds on this walk! Stay on the path as it meanders in between the housing development.  The path crosses over Somerset drive and continue along until you see some bushland on your right.  Go right here and follow this path around the duck pond and then you’ll have to walk on the road for a little bit.  Walk past the playground and then you’ll see another path along the third (and final) duck pond.

Once you’ve walked around the pond you’ll be back on Somerset drive. Turn left and walk along until you see a path on your right in between the houses.  Walk up here through to Lemonwood circuit.  Keep left and around the corner you’ll see another path which will take you back to Somerset drive again.  Cross over and walk down Willow close. At the end there will be a path, go right and follow this along whilst admiring the view across the fields towards the railway line. Keep left and the path will end in Redman cove.  Walk up to Eurimbla street, which turns into Taylor avenue, and this will take you back up to where you parked your car.

Please see link for Map of Somerset walk

Maitland Walk # 15: Denton Park drive

Denton park

  • Distance: 4.9 km / 7000 steps
  • Time: ~ 55 min
  • Suitability: A longish walk with two fairly steep hill climbs, however perfect for wheels as it is all on paved roads or pathways.  The route goes back and forth between Aberglasslyn and Rutherford and includes a lovely bit of bushland that unfortunately may disappear due to further residential development

Park at Norm Chapman oval in Dunkley street just off the New England highway, on the right shortly after the Rutherford shopping centre if coming from Newcastle.

Walk through the playground and turn left up Fairfax street.   Stay on this until you get to Christine close, turn right and walk up the hill where you’ll see a pathway on your left.  At the end of the path, cross the street and walk up Robert close.  You’ll see another pathway on your left, go down here and you’re now on Adam Ave.  Turn right and walk up the fairly steep hill until you get to Joshua close on your right. Walk up here after you have had a look at the view, and at the end there will be a pathway taking you through to the bushland.

This is a fantastic natural habitat providing much needed green space in amongst a fairly densely populated area. The pathway is colloquially called “Hannah’s walk”, named after a young girl who, together with her grandmother, is passionate about preserving this bushland which has (unfortunately) been zoned for development.  See article in the Maitland Mercury about their efforts.

The pathway will take you through to Denton Park drive.  Turn right and walk along this relatively busy road for 750m until you get to the Sanctuary reserve where you’ll see a pathway on your right.  This takes you through to Honeyoak drive.  Continue uphill and along until you get to Nardoo avenue on your right.  Follow this as it curves around and then look for a pathway on your right which will take you through to Weblands street.  Turn left and now you just follow this, past the Maitland Baptist Church facilities and once you get to Rutherford public school, Dunkley street will be across the road on your right.  Go down here and it will take you back to where you parked your car.

Please see link for map of the Denton Park drive walk