Directions - Located east of the main strip of Margaret River, take Willmott Ave off Bussell Hwy and turn left at either Rendall Close or The Boulevard/Waters Edge and find a parking spot on the street. The weir is located a short walk north from both locations.
The Hike - With a brief trip to Margaret River for New Years on the cards I hadn't planned any hikes given we were only there for one night and it was being spent with family. In the afternoon of New Years Eve our puppies were still being a little rambunctious and needed calming down so Caris' uncle came with us for a walk around the neighbourhood. He had found a nature trail near the river and so we explored the tracks at sunset and had a lovely time. Towards the end we saw the slightly worse for wear official information boards that are dotted around the trail referring to it as the Riverslea Run. I had left the camera at the accommodation and was just happy to have this as a one off hike not to be documented but after a very laid back New Years Eve I was up at sunrise so decided to walk the full trail with the camera and put in on the website.
Leaving the accommodation well before anyone was up (and avoiding the looks of betrayal from the dogs as I left them in the room), I walked down to the starting point in the crisp morning air and admired the tranquil setting near the weir. Having not done this section the day before, it was a pleasant surprise to find the still waters of Margaret River matched to the dawn chorus of birds, frogs and the rush of water from the weir. Before I set off on the official trail I took a few photos from the bridge over the weir and learned a bit more about why the weirs were constructed and the good news information board stating that Margaret River is one of the healthiest rivers in the South West. With enough photos on the memory card I eventually started the walk and came across the first of the previously mentioned information boards that I guess were installed when the newer section of houses surrounding this area were built. Some of the boards are now quite hard to read but luckily the trails are well maintained due to the regular use they get. The basis of the trail is to provide a nature walk that takes in the riverside forest and provide a few relaxation points in which to take in the gentle waters of Margaret River.
This isn't a total escape from nature as every now and then you can see a house or two in your sight line but I didn't expect it to be and it's a small price to pay for such a nice walk. The trail meanders around following the river’s edge and it wasn't a bad way to start 2018. With plenty of mature Jarrah and Marri trees complemented by the local tea trees and the occasional banksia, there is plenty of diversity to the landscape and I was happy to see a couple of varieties of wildflowers still providing colour to the undergrowth. Every now and then you come across a split in the path that indicates a side trail and given I didn't have to be anywhere I decided to follow them all. They usually ended up with a wooden seat under a tree or provided access to the waters edge and I could get used to visiting them in the mornings or afternoons if I lived nearby. One such diversion that was right on the trail was an overhanging tree complete with swing ropes and steps nailed into the trunk for the purpose of climbing out and jumping into the water. I could imagine on a hot summer’s afternoon that this would be a fun place to hang out and I envy the kids who get to have this as their backyard.
With the sun now making an appearance from behind the clouds I tried to capture it as best I could but didn't quite get what I was after. After this old timey river fun spot the trail moves back into the bush for a bit of variety and on towards another beautiful river spot. A solitary boulder sits in the water and took at bit of a stretch to climb on but once I was there it was a very relaxing place to sit. With the morning sun now having escaped the grip of the clouds I was bathed in the glorious warmth as I sat on the boulder listening to the sounds of nature. I could have stayed there all morning and I almost did but eventually moved on to finish the trail. Taking you through a final section of bushland, the trail then moves up onto the road where you will stay until you reach the park that Lantana Lane surrounds. It's quite a nice park with grassed areas and a few bridges hidden by the dense bush that lines the drainage creek leading back towards Margaret River. With an unexpected hike in the books it was time to head back to the accommodation and enjoy the rest of 2018.
Final Thoughts - Information on walk trails in Margaret River is always confined to some of the longer one way trails like the 10 Mile Brook Walk (closed until July 2018) and the Rails to Trails Trail that links Margaret River to Cowaramup. For that reason I have those trails at the bottom of the list until I have the time and extra support to make the logistics work.
Even doing a quick Google search for the Riverslea Run reveals nothing and is only a walk you would do if you were a local or stumbled across the information boards while you were staying in the area.
It's not an unsubstantial walk being over 2km long and if you include the walk there and back from wherever you are located in Margaret River then it is worth stretching the legs. I quite enjoyed this trail with a good mix of access to the river, mature forest and at times a feeling like you weren't right on the edge of suburbia. If this was my backyard then I would be a very happy camper.
Given that the land development is now a mature suburb of Margaret River I guess there is no need to advertise it now and just leave it for the residents to enjoy. Sorry residents of the area but you might see some more traffic on this trail now.
Get out there and experience it!
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