Hornsby Council is to be highly commended for their efforts in being one of the few Sydney Metro Councils to custom build, mark and maintain new bush trails which encourage a variety of outdoor activities- thereby facilitating the appreciation of, and engagement with, our exquisite natural environments.
In 2018 council began work on the Galston Nature Trail, and it was completed in the first quarter of 2019. It’s a short, but rather lovely little educational nature trail, which skirts the perimeters of the soccer fields and more- either starting or finishing at Hayes Oval netball courts, depending on where you pick up the trail markers. The trail has been designed for education and leisure so it’s perfect for school groups and young families. It is wellmarked, with six beautifully designed information plaques that educate us about the many interesting natural features of Galston Recreation Reserve.
Galston Recreation Reserve and the bushland behind are Crown Land and Hornsby Shire Council has care and control over both. Unfortunately the reserve is, in a sense, “land-locked” by private property, with a small section adjoining land owned by Electricity Transmission Ministerial Holding Corp. who built the concrete footbridge over Colah Creek to carry power cables.
There is potential for a much larger loop trail within Galston Recreation Reserve itself. Council has assessed this, due to the large amount of existing fire trail, but is currently not proceeding with it. No other future plans have been made for this area, but there are potential opportunities: A thin strip of non-private land follows the creek downstream to Mid-Dural Road and onto Fosters Reserve and the historic swimming hole, with a branch heading off to Sunnyvale Road. However, a needs and risk analysis is required prior to embarking on such projects.
The Galston Nature Trail only covers a tiny fraction of a far bigger- and in many ways, forgotten- natural resource.
More new (walking, cycling, horse riding) trails would provide our community with valuable off road access links between Old Northern Road, Galston Road and Galston High School. A ‘Colah Creek nature trail’, could be part of a bigger Galston nature trails network which could include both Fagan Park and the village. The reserve has unique rock features, forests, ridgelines, a beautiful waterway, informal foot paths, and abundant indigenous flora and fauna supported by these features. There are excellent scenic views of Galston from the power sub-station boundaries to be enjoyed and extensive, cleared areas under the powerlines for the creation of even more excellent bush trails… power company permitting, of course!
Apart from the economic, physical and mental benefits to the community, facilitating frequent activity in this specific pocket of bushland by building more trails could discourage criminal elements from targeting our sports facilities, high school, car park and skate park areas. The mountain bicycle trails that Hornsby Council built at OMV are a perfect example of this outcome.
In the words of Prof. Catherine Pickering of Griffith University ”If we don’t have kids experience nature, in 20 years we’re not going to have a generation of people supporting conservation. “ So the Galston Nature Trail is, in fact, a small but highly significant step in the right direction for and by, ‘The Bushland Shire.’