Skeleton Bridge Walk
Boyup Brook

Railway Parade

5.9km (Loop)

97m

2 hours

On Lead

Free

1200px-Australian_Aboriginal_Flag.svg.png

Kaniyang people

Directions - Located near Boyup Brook, from the centre of town head east along Donnybrook Boyup Brook Rd and turn left at Bridge St. Follow this down to Railway Parade and turn into the gravel area near the old Railway Station. The walk starts from there and heads east.

The Hike - With the Cape to Cape marking the first part of a four week South West road trip now completed, I settled down in Funbury for a few days spending time with my family. Part of this was to rest from the C2C but I also wanted some chill time where I wasn't hiking all the time, something that was about to happen a lot once I left. After taking my young nephew for a play day, Caris joined me for a couple of days and we had some family time doing a Funbury - Nannup - Bridgetown - Balingup loop and exploring Funbury. By the end of the week it was time to move on and my goal for the day was to drive from Funbury to Walpole, taking in a few trails along the way. This worked out perfectly for a hike I had marked down ever since I saw a single image of a wooden rail bridge covered in greenery. 

Details about the trail that led there were sketchy and given how far Boyup Brook was from the main travel routes between Perth, Bunbury and the South West, it was always something I would do later down the line. With the planets aligning and it not being such a detour off my intended travel route, I decided to pencil in a visit and started getting serious about finding more information about the trail. The best source was the local Boyup Brook website that has been upgraded since I first started looking for this trail. With no map but a rough guess at where to go based off Google Maps, I set about driving out to Boyup Brook on a lovely spring morning. The countryside here was very picturesque with a mix of rolling hills, farmland and forest. Due to a brain fade my route was a bit different but it allowed me to relive some adventures as I passed along areas I had explored in the last couple of years including a ride on the Munda Biddi out of Donnybrook and an enjoyable trip on the Bibbulmun between Yabberup and Noggerup. Arriving at Boyup Brook in a good mood, I found the old railway station that is given as the start point and parked my car.

Not knowing what to expect apart from a lovely looking wooden bridge, I was impressed by the old railway station that had a certain romantic charm about it. It's a shame that the railway lines around the South West are mostly in disrepair as travelling through these areas on a tourist train would be plenty of fun. I found what looked like the Bicentennial Trail and joined it as it headed in an easterly direction towards the town's water supply and some old sheds. Being on the edge of a country town I knew the flowers I saw were not likely to be native and sure enough as I got closer they resembled escaped canola flowers. If I hadn't seen a walking symbol next to the water supply I would have doubted this was a trail that led anywhere but after passing the sheds, I arrived at one of a couple of water crossings. There was an issue here with danger tape over the bridge and no other way across the water but after a close examination of the bridge it looked like a few boards were missing and that was it so I made a decision to ignore the tape. On the other side was the remnants of an old railway bridge and a trail that forked off in two different directions. 

The trail to the right looked more like a walking trail and with machinery sounds coming from the trail to the left, I picked right and kept going. The scenery was much nicer down this route with another water crossing (no danger tape on this bridge) but after checking my GPS I soon realised that I was meant to go left if I wanted a direct path to the bridge. I started to double back but then figured I could make my own loop through this nice section full of mature trees and blooming acacia. It would eventually lead me to a good looking public park called Music Park, so named because of the bandstand located in the middle where I'm guessing there are a few concerts played over the year. Boyup Brook does market itself as a country music town with the Harvey Dickson's Country Music Centre located just out of town. I followed the path through the park, saying hello to a local puppa on a walk with its owners and eventually found the banks of the Blackwood River. The town is built up on the hill above the river so unless you venture down this way, you might not know it was here. I was looking forward to exploring it a bit more but after crossing another little creek by the edge of the road leading towards the caravan park, it was obvious that the trail swung back north and followed the brook.

Based off an old sign I found, this is another of the heritage trails that were all the rage in the late 80s were you just had to slap the word bicentennial or heritage on something and you were given funding for a trail. Sadly most of these have fallen into disrepair and the one here looks to be no different. The trail still gets used by people and I followed it back to link up with the trail leading out to Skeleton Bridge. The paperbarks through here were really impressive and it would be a really nice trail if some rehabilitation work was done on both sides of the trail. From the edge of the creek leading all the way to Skeleton Bridge is a wide vehicle track taking you initially through a paddock, past the local rifle range and then on a better looking rail formation. You can see old sleepers still in the ground and as you get further away from town the scenery starts to look a bit nicer. With rolling farmland to your left and native vegetation lining the Blackwood River to your right, it makes the flat walking more bearable. Passing through one more gate I was pleased to see a walking symbol and then not far along, the bridge came into view.