Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail
As an added incentive to promote participation, 2014 will include the opportunity to ride The Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail on Saturday the 15th of February.
Entry is free to all riders participating in Cycle Classic events on the Sunday. For more information on the course, please visit http://www.railtrails.org.au/states/trails.php3?action=trail&trail=36
The ride will begin from the CE Bartlett (172 Ring Road Wendouree) carpark and participants are encouraged to reward themselves with lunch at the Royal Mail Hotel in Smythesdale (at their own expense) before riding home or catching the courtesy bus back to the starting point.
More information will be available shortly, so make sure you bookmark this page and follow us on Facebook
About the Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail
The Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail is an unsealed trail following the line of the former Ballarat to Skipton railway The trail is 53km from start to finish.
Whether you're into wide open grasslands, eucalypt forest, historic bridges, attractive nineteenth century towns or just like a few sheep for company, you'll enjoy this trail. The trail was completely resurfaced in 2008.
Trail HighlightsArch of Victory and Avenue of Honour
As you leave central Ballarat you'll pass through the 1920 Arch of Victory and along the Avenue of Honour. On part of the 22 kilometre stretch of road planted with a tree for each Ballarat resident who enlisted in the First World War between 1917 and 1919. Employees of the local E.Lucas & Co, textile factory planted the trees and raised the funds for building the Arch.
A former gold mining town. The township is to your left, on the Glenelg Highway, with many historic buildings including the police station, stables and courthouse. Snacks are available at shops in town.
A nice picnic area by the trail with a water tank and a small town just off the trail. The trail gets hillier from here.
The most photographed sight on the trail is a fabulous long trestle aged-bridge (which has been recently restored), best viewed from the track across the creek below the bridge. There is a picnic table at each end of the bridge - perfect spots to enjoy the valley views.
Look up and you'll see a partially intact bridge. You wouldn't want to be cycling on that one.
You can glimpse a dam and much birdlife through the trees along this forested section of the trail.
A brief exit from the forest brings you to the edge of Linton. The township is to your left, and has many historic reminders from the gold rush era including a Chinese cemetery and public buildings from the 1860s, plus galleries and cafes. There's also a shop right beside the trail as it crosses the highway. On both sides of the town the trail passes through cuttings and crosses trestle bridges. As you leave Linton and head towards Skipton catch a glimpse of Mortchup Reservoir on your left.
The trail leaves the forest with a descent to a kaolin mine; the white clay is used for porcelain. You are back to sheep country and rolling farmland.
At the end of the trail lies Skipton, a picturesque town with a reserve by the Mount Emu Creek and many Victorian buildings. The hotel dates from 1857 and the bluestone church in the main street is of a similar vintage. The town was an important wool centre in the late nineteenth century with the best Merino wool in Australia. A newer local industry is eel farming, with eels bred for export.