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Oxford Downs

Summary: 5.5km 1.3hr 100m Easy.

Start/End: Corner Macclesfield Road & Tschampions Road (Parking E side of Macclesfield Road).

The walk follows a circuit around the ridge where Macclesfield town centre is located, near to Woori Yallock Creek which bounds it on the west. Much of the ridge reaches above 200m, providing occasional vistas of the nearby countryside.  The route is hilly and there are some moderately steep sections.

Commencing at the town centre (see “Downtown Macclesfield” entry), walk S downhill on W side of Macclesfield Road (gravel trail) and turn W at the intersection with Mulhalls Road. Continuing downhill on the S side of Mulhalls Road (bridle path), some varied country is seen ranging from bush blocks to cleared lands, with the Monbulk ridge in the distance. Impressive stands of stringybarks and pines can be seen, interspersed with wattles in seasonal bloom.

Stringybarks
Pines
Wattle blooming

Near the junction with Oxford Downs Road, a low lying area around a NW flowing tributary of Woori Yallock Creek reveals a break in the Silurian mudstone and siltstone geology that underlies much of Macclesfield, exposing some recent alluvial deposits. Turning N into Oxford Downs Road (gravel road) we find this gully area extends to create some dells of treeferns mixed with heaths. Proceeding further N along the W side of Oxford Downs Road (road shoulder and grass verge) one enters a zone where cleared grassland predominates, and small clusters of sundews glint in the sunlight.

Fern gully
Heaths
Sundews

Properties on the W side of the road slope down towards the Woori Yallock Creek riparian zone. Climbing towards the end of the road, one reaches Oxford Downs property from which the road takes its name, with nary a sheep in sight. This property was the site of the recent “Oxford Downs Project” led by Macclesfield Landcare Group, to replant creekside vegetation associated with the “From Yellingbo to Butterfield” ecological renewal initiative. At this point the walker must turn E into Madigan Road, following this narrow and steep track (gravel road). At the crest we are rewarded by clear views to the north of Warramate Hills and the Healesville Ranges. At a dense grove of stringybark beyond the crest, Madigan Road ends in a sharp turn to the N where one begins to descend down the eponymous Short Road (gravel road).

Madigan Road
Warramate Hills

At the foot of the hill, Short Road joins Kirkpatricks Road, a lightly trafficked throughroute. It is easiest to walk E along the N side of Kirkpatricks Road (grass verge), but there is no continuously defined path so occasional deviations onto the road itself are necessary (road shoulder). This section is heavily treed and in some places the road seems like a tunnel through the canopy. Some decorative features can be noted on some of the properties along this road including traditional gates and fences.  Kirkpatricks Road ends at Macclesfield Road, where care should be taken when crossing as there is a high volume of traffic often moving fast. Follow Macclesfield Road S on its E side (grass verge) for a final view of the Healesville and Gembrook ranges, until the commencement point is reached.

Kirkpatricks Road
Traditional fence

Downtown Macclesfield

Summary: 6km 1.5hr 100m Easy

Start/End: Corner Macclesfield Road & Tschampions Road (Parking E side of Macclesfield Road)

The “town centre” of Macclesfield is at this junction and so it is a good base for exploring the three arms of roadway that meet here. Two major buildings mark this spot: the old St Hilda’s Church (1904) and the new CFA fire station (2010). A number of homes are clustered closely around these. Most of the now long gone buildings of old Macclesfield were located along this stretch of Macclesfield Road.

Walking S downhill on W side of Macclesfield Road (gravel trail) one encounters views of the mixed areas of bush and pasture which are characteristic of Macclesfield. To the E are glimpses of the distant Gembrook Hills. Numerous old pine and cedar trees (and occasional maples and oaks) give evidence of long settlement, and some gum trees of more than 1m diameter remain. Horses, cows and sheep abound. Shortly after crossing Mulhalls is Macclesfield Community Hall, and at the foot of the hill Macclesfield Primary School (1929) with its Gallipoli tree. The trail continues for some way but Legg Road is a convenient turning point to return.

Back at the junction, setting out E along the S side of Tschampions Road (bridle path), farmland vistas can be seen on both sides. After crossing Cherry Road, Macclesfield Creek forms the lowest point, followed by Kennedy Road. The Macclesfield Pony Club occupies the triangle of land alongside, with entry from either road. There are picnic tables here suitable for a mid walk respite.

Returning up the hill to the junction, one can follow the third arm N along the E side of Macclesfield Road (grass verge) to be rewarded with striking views of the Healesville Range to the NE and Gembrook Hills to the E. One can also see the pocket of bushland where remnants of the old Macclesfield gold mine shaft are located. Take care to watch out for traffic as this is a fast through route road. A roadside turnout is a suitable endpoint for retracing ones steps, after which a bush section makes further verge walking difficult.