The Great West Walk, a 65km section of Sydney’s walking network linking Parramatta and Penrith, is being launched with an Inaugural walk over five days from Friday 11th to Tuesday 15th October. The full walk is being undertaken by members of the Walking Volunteers and other walkers are being encouraged to join the Volunteers on any of the days. Each section starts and finishes at public transport nodes. Maps and starting points are attached.
We appreciate however that not everyone has the time or stamina for a full day’s walk (let alone five days) and especially not the 17kms of the final day. We are therefore highlighting an opportunity to do a 7.5kms/3 hr morning walk, namely the first section of the walk on Tuesday 15th October. This starts at 9.15 am at the Ropes Crossing shopping centre and finishes at East Pond, Jordan Springs, at about 12.30pm.
To make this truncated walk possible NP&WS are offering to arrange transport back to Ropes Crossing from East Pond for local residents, those who have parked cars at the start or those opting to use the Ropes Crossing bus service.
This section will be a very special walk as it will be the first opportunity to pass through the newly opened Wianamatta Regional Park. The area was once isolated from the public to safely manufacture munitions, firstly during WW1 then again in the Cold War and Vietnam periods. When production ceased in 1993 it was slated for urban development but almost immediately concerns were raised about the conservation values of this vestige of Cumberland Plain flora and fauna.
These concerns eventually resulted in the establishment, under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, of 900 hectares of the original 1,545ha. as a Regional Park in 2008. It is only now, following necessary infrastructure works and land handover by the residential developer, that the whole park can be traversed by the public. In recognition of this the Environment Minister, Matt Kean, will formally open the park prior to the Inaugural Great West Walk.
This venture has been, and still is, a balancing act between the various interests and values involved, how to meet the legitimate recreational needs of a growing population but at the same time nurturing and restoring the sensitive natural environment made even more precious by such population pressures. Even the desire to retain the iconic emu and kangaroo populations has to be balanced with the needs of other fauna and flora and the constraints of containment adjacent to human settlement.
To join this walk and experience what is an ancient yet modified and still evolving landscape, just turn up in time for a 9.15am start at Ropes Crossing shops. If, however, you will need return transport to Ropes Crossing either contact NP&WS direct on 02 4572 3100,
or Ian Napier of The Walking Volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org. To arrange such transport your early notification is appreciated.