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Berowra Valley Nationall Park is managed by NSW Parks & Wildlife Service.

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Friends of Berowra Valley  inc. is an authorised community service group dedicated to assist the managers in the support of the Park

 
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Click on the track to go to text about that section

Synopsis:
This interpretive walk (an educational section of the Great North Walk) follows the Great North Walk along Berowra Creek through mangroves, salt marshes, forest and woodlands, and past evidence of Aboriginal occupation. There are interpretative signs to Calna Creek.
The signs form part on an educational walk for school projects, years 4 to 8. There are separate school and teacher’s kits for junior high and upper primary schools. These are available through Hornsby Shire Council’s environmental education officer. A brochure on the interpretive trail is available from the Council and from NPWS..


10: Salt Marsh Walk

Crosslands to Calna & Sams Cks, return

Route:

Crosslands car park to Calna Creek (or extend to Sams Creek) & return

Distance:

1.3 km (one way) with a possible extension to Sams Creek (adding about 1.0 km each way)

Grade:

Moderate; two short steep sections, and some rough steps and rough sections of path

Time:

To Calna Creek return:
1–2 hours
To Sams Creek return:
2-4 hours

Transport

Single car to Crosslands via Somerville Road, Hornsby Heights

Track status:

Official track with interpretive signs to Calna Creek

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Text may have been abbreviated. See “Guide to Berowra Valley Regional Park” for complete text
 Sign 1 Crosslands Interpretive Trail

From the north-eastern end of the Crosslands’ car park follow the bitumen service track, noting Swamp Oaks Casuarina glauca, the mangroves by the creek, and the remnant trees from the former open-forest (Bloodwoods and Turpentines).

Sign 2 Swamped out the back

To the right of the picnic shelters follow the Great North Walk (Calna Creek 1.3 km) using the boardwalk across the swamp. This boardwalk is suitable for wheelchair use.. This swamp was originally a channel made by Burton Crossland to assist his boat building and construction activities. It has now formed naturally into a backswamp. On quiet days a lyrebird may be heard calling near here. The small plant with bright green angular leaves growing abundantly is New Zealand Spinach Tetragonia tetragonioides, an edible bush food.

At the end of the boardwalk you come to the start of a mangrove section featuring two species: the River Mangrove Aegiceras corniculatum and the Grey Mangrove Avicennia marina var. australisca. Patches of Sea Rush Juncus kraussii can be seen growing in the shallow water.

The track continues behind the mangroves, more or less following the high-tide line to a cleared area and large rock. Here a viewing platform takes advantage of views of the creek and to enable marine organisms to be inspected at low tide.

Sign 3 Original inhabitants

From this point on there is frequent evidence in shell middens of the original Kuring-gai Aboriginal people. While this track gives the appearance of an amenity provided by government authorities for the benefit of modern-day bushwalkers, it has probably been in use by humans since sea levels rose following the end of the last ice age thousands of years ago.

For an authoritative account of the indigenous people see section 2.2 ‘Aboriginal people of Berowra Valley’.

Berowra Creek to Calna Creek

As the track continues, the bushland on the right — mainly open-forest with Swamp Oak Casuarina Glauca and the occasional Grey Gum Eucalyptus punctata dominating — rises steeply towards Somerville Road.

Sign 4 All Creatures great and small

After the sign giving information on the animal species in the area there are a number of minor detours to avoid the high-tide line. Here and there large boulders have tumbled down from the slopes above.

Sign 5 Catch the threats

At a major and particularly scenic bend in the stream the currents have so deepened the creek bed as to form a swimming hole and fishing place. The sign at this point gives information about the catchment.

Sign 6 The Rock Club

After the sign dealing with the rocky places as habitats for plants and animals the track crosses several more shell middens.

Sign 7 Bush Supermarket

At the next sign grass trees Xanthorrhoea arborea are abundant. The sign explains the uses that the indigenous people and early settlers made of this plant.

Next, just after some stone steps — five down and three up — an old 1.5 m by 2 m concrete slab can be seen at the water’s edge. This was once a landing stage serving the occupants of some fishing shacks formerly on the ridge above.

The track rises quite steeply, through open-forest thinning to woodland on the ridge. Near the top are the remnants of a sandstone wall embankment, built perhaps to support a track between the landing stage and the shacks.

Sign 8 Stop! Look! Listen! And smell!

At the ridge-top is another shell midden. As locations selected by the indigenous people for the consumption of shellfish would have had some particular advantage, the presence of a shell midden at this location, now hemmed in by trees, suggests that it might once have afforded a panoramic view of the two creeks, Berowra Creek below to the east and Calna Creek to the west.

An indistinct path crosses the main track at the interpretive sign, heading uphill to the right and following the ridge towards the hairpin bend on Somerville Road. About 40 m along it on the left are galvanised iron and wooden frame remains of one of the fishing shacks. Back on the main route, the steep descent is made easier by log-formed steps.

Sign 9 Rock ’n roll

Just before the last descent there is a seat and a sign explaining the geological and natural history of the Hornsby plateau, and of the earth. Calna Creek is just below, and the steep cliffs of Gundah Ridge rise on the other side of it.

The twin logs bridging Calna Creek were dropped into place by an Australian Army helicopter when the Benowie walking track was formed in the 1980s. The 700 mm wide boardwalk is most springy at the halfway point.

Calna Creek to Sams Creek

Calna Creek is fringed with mangroves at the log bridge. There is a walking track sign on the far side: the route to the right leads to Mt Kuring-gai (via Lyrebird Gully), that to the left continues the Great North Walk towards Berowra. Go left for this walk.

Sign 10 Fragile marsh

Almost at once a salt marsh is reached, crossed by a boardwalk. Calna Creek salt marsh, once threatened by sand-mining proposals in Berowra Creek, is one of the few salt marshes in the Sydney region not to have been filled in for sports fields, housing or industrial uses. It looks like an open paddock, yet it floods twice a day with each high tide; and at the spring and autumnal equinoxes it does so to a considerable depth. Sea Rush Juncus kraussii, Bare Twig-rush Baumea juncea and Austral Seablite Suaeda australis dominate. The marsh is fringed by stands of Swamp Oak Casuarina glauca and River Mangroves. In time, if sea levels do not rise rapidly and siltation continues, this area might be colonised by shrubs and trees and could become a river flat forest. Already Casuarina glauca has established small islands in the marsh.

For a slightly longer walk, a 1 km extension beyond the interpretive signs at the salt marsh is recommended. This rocky and undulating segment is described in Walk 8, Lyrebird Gully under the heading ‘Calna Creek to Sams Creek’. It is as attractive as the first section, and the big rock at Sams Creek is the highlight at the end.

Return

The return to Crosslands 1.3 km from the salt marsh or 2.3 km from Sams Creek is likely to be much quicker than the outward walk. There are barbecue facilities at Crosslands.

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Mangroves at high tide when the intertidal area is a haven for small fish.

 

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Boardwalk viewing platform gives access to intertidal zone marine life.

 

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The track reveals an almost continuous layer of shells, all evidence of concentrated use by indigenous people of seafood resources along the creek.

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Interpretive signs throughot the walk add greatly to understanding of the Salt Marsh environment.

 

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Xanrhorrhoea arborea
in company with wildflowers

 

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Star fungi - one of many, often pungent fungi to be seen in the Park.

 

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Sandbar at the entrance to Calna Creek from the twin-log bridge

 

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The salt marsh may often appear dry and hard but is always waterlogged and subject to tidal inundation

 

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