Mountain bike trails have been in and around Margaret River for over 15 years. Unsanctioned trails were built in the Boranup Forest and in the pine plantations off Carters Road near the Margaret River townsite.
However, change has been a constant for the Margaret River trails. Much of the pine plantations were harvested, and many original trails were lost. So, local riders from the Margaret River Off Road Cycling Association (MRORCA) and the Parks and Wildlife team at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) joined forces to brainstorm sanctioned and well-planned replacement trails in parts of the bush and pine plantations close to town that would have greater protection.
The team at DBCA coordinated with the Forest Products Commission (FPC) to source locations for trails that could co-exist in an active plantation and the Pines MK2 sprang into existence. The original concept plan was completed by Common Ground while the trails were designed and constructed by local trail building company, Magic Dirt, in conjunction with MRORCA and DBCA.
FPC changed scheduled harvest operations to be able to offer the newly planted Margaret Plantation as a site for some impressive new trails. To avoid damaging the new trails with plantation machinery, the pine seedlings were planted by hand.
The result is a network of quality trails that have had their origins in a collaboration of ideas and energy between the community, land management experts and specialist trail designers.
Historically, there were three different trail networks constructed in different phases and time frames but always with similar themes around style, flow and quality.
The southernmost network, west of the Bussell Highway, was named Wharncliffe after the former nearby timber mill, which now offers accommodation and a campground.
The network a little further north is known as Compartment 10, which was the original forestry coup name.
The third and most northerly network is named The Pines after the softwood pine plantation that the trails travel through. The new Pines network has added 15km of mountain bike trails to the existing 30+km of MTB trails in nearby Compartment 10 and Wharncliffe.
Together all three networks, bordered by Carters Road and the Bussell Hwy, have been networked and joined together and named the Wooditjup Trails.
The old, converted railway line from Busselton to Augusta, named the Wadandi Track after the area’s traditional owners, provides a backbone to the Wooditjup MTB trail network. Now residents from Margaret River, Cowaramup and Witchcliffe can ride along the Wandandi Track to access the mountain bike trails.
Margaret River is famous for its surfing, wineries and food but now it attracts those looking for an active holiday too. These days it’s not unusual to see more bikes than surfboards on cars in town.
What was once a surfing destination it is now developing as an MTB trails destination, with rock climbing, swimming and hiking added into the mix. And the great surf is still there too!
While the trails have drawn mountain bike and hiking tourists to the region, they are also a popular activity for the locals as well.
When you ride the Wooditjup trails, you might notice the fairytale/nursery rhyme theme in the trail names. That’s because these trails are often called ‘the nursery trails’ as they nurture younger riders and those new to mountain biking. But, don’t worry, there is also plenty of challenge for more experienced riders.
The Wooditjup trails feature cross country, flow and jump trails that cater to riders of all levels, from beginners looking for a leisurely ride through the forest to advanced riders wanting to tackle a challenging trail with jumps and technical features.
From the green, rail-converted Wadandi Track to the blue outer loop called Gulliver’s Travels to the technical black run Senderella, Margaret River’s Wooditjup Trails has something for everyone.
We acknowledge the Wadandi people of the Noongar nation as the Traditional Owners of the land through which these trails pass.
Photos Copyright bydenzil
© Trails WA Projects 2022