HOOF, HIKE OR BIKE AT SCHEYVILLE NATIONAL PARK !

Avondale_trail and Longneck_creek
Avondale_trail and Longneck_creek

For years I’ve travelled straight through the middle of this national park, not realising what I was missing. By the number of horse boxes visible from Scheyville Road, it looked like the equestrians were probably onto a good thing here so recently, after yet another transit though the park, my mind was made up and I returned equipped with my hard tail mountain bike. I wasn’t disappointed!

I began at the busy intersection of Scheyville and Pittown Dural Roads and rode the bumpy Powerline Trail. At the crest of the first big hill I spied some singletrack to the right which sashayed through forest populated by feral deer. En route I pulled off the track and gave way to some friendly women astride their horses and then pedalled my trusty steed out into a freshly mowed area bordering Pitt Town Dural Road. A few metres down Bursaria fire trail, another sneaky singletrack caught my eye off to the right which took me down to the muddy hike a bike crossing over lovely Longneck Creek.

All too soon, singletrack morphed into hardpack firetrail, which gently ascended to the Avondale Road gate and parks perimeter fence. There are a couple of fun mounds and roll downs here for mtb riders to practise their skills on. There are another two (muddy) singletrack options to explore which take you back down to Longneck Creek and Bursaria firetrail. History buffs may consider riding up through the gate onto Avondale Road, following road signs to the historic Pitt Town Cemetery off Old Stock Route Road.

Wanting to avoid the mud, I wrangled my bike up the technical climb alongside Avondale Road and onto the Schofield Road firetrail which is an enjoyable, flat 3km cruise, with expansive views across the valley to Dormitory Hill (the heritage half of the park which performed various functions in the past as an Ag School, WW2 Migrant Camp & Vietnam military training centre). This dirt road descends past the intersection of Old Pittown and Scheyville Roads, following Longneck Creek. From here one can cross Scheyville Road to Long Tan Place, the Water Tower trail and grassy heritage trail networks. Or stay with the horses and explore further trail options; those to the left all climb back up to Schofield Road trail, those to the right meander back to the horsebox parking at the end of the Racecourse Trail.

Scheyville NP actually extends all the way to Longneck Lagoon, but the park’s five current trail areas are not properly linked. But it is still worth exploring due to the easy, gentle terrain, local history and unique natural features. With high density housing developments closing in all around, it is reassuring to know that there is a local National Park facilitating a diversity of recreational activities and thereby community access and appreciation of this historic natural asset both now, and into the future.

FACTBOX

  • This is one of a very few natural areas left in Greater Sydney where equestrians can enjoy sanctioned riding. Bicyclists must share these trails and it is critical that you give right of way! Always be considerate and cultivate trail user allies wherever you engage with the bush. PS: Avoid spooking horses and never wear any flouro clothing here. Call out in advance to alert both horse and rider to your presence.
  • Don’t ride here after wet weather. Apart from being an unpleasant mud fest, your activity impacts the terrain of existing trails.
  • There are no navigational trail markers for equestrians, cyclists or walkers- only along the educational trails. Until there are, may Scheyville NP be a place of many happy returns until a personalised trail map is firmly embedded inside your head!
  • Highly recommend this NP for hardtail XC bikes and Gravel bike riding. Leave dual sus. and e-bikes at home. Add distance along the beautiful Midson Road, and Reedy/ Mitchell Park/Pebbly Hill Roads circuit.