Search

Visit to the Old Mill - Franklin, Tasmania aka Castle Forbes Forest

'rainforest species can be seen as the old tram track leads into the myrtle forest, surely one of the closest of such forests to civilization' (Family Bush Walks in the Huon - Nuss & Tyson 1987).


Located in foresty area up the back of New Road, Franklin, is a wonderful little walk called "The Old Mill Walk', a part of Franklin's forestry history and indeed, a lovely little walk in almost wildnerness so close to town. Today I thought I would pay a visit, since it had been a number of years since my last foray there which was during autumn. This time, my summer visit was for the sole purpose of confirming and recording on inaturalist whether the Beech Orange Cyttaria gunnii existed there on the Myrtles, however unfortunately I can advise you that I did not find any - at least this time anyway.


On this walk there are a number of points of interest. As you walk along the track you will see a number of temperate rainforest species including mature Myrtles and Sassafras trees, a small creek crossing (1-2 metres across), mossy logs and tree ferns and then at the end of the track there are some interesting rusty parts of what remain of the Old Mill at the end of where I go along the track.


Apparently, Nuss & Tyson (1987), mention that 'you can also continue further up the old tram track until it becomes obscure' and that snowberries are in great profusion along this part of the track.


The Castle Forbes Forest track is a flat and easy walk, however it is recommended you do drive up New Road to meet the track, as New Road climbs approximately 100m above sea level per 1 km, winding uphill for 5km and would not be an easy walk.



Ganoderma sp. inhabits the base of an old Myrtle tree, Old Mill Track, Castle Forbes Forest, Franklin.
Ganoderma sp. inhabits the base of an old Myrtle tree, Old Mill Track, Castle Forbes Forest, Franklin.

Directions:

Turn into New Road and continue all the way up to the top, past the last residential building. Just past here, you will see the forestry boom gate which is usually left open unless there are forestry operations in progress. Take care on the road, as depending on conditions, the road may have quite large potholes and often the local youth enjoy a good hoon up this way.


Sustainable Timber Tasmania - Forestry boom gate
Sustainable Timber Tasmania - Forestry boom gate - New Road Franklin Tasmania.

About 500m further you come to a junction, take the road leading upwards and to the right, rather than going further.


Road Junction - Turn right here
Sustainable Timber Tasmania - New Road Junction - Turn right here

As you travel along this road you'll have a wonderful view on your left, with lots of young Blanket Bush and Dogwood growing along the roadside.


Looking west across plantation and native forest, Franklin.
Continuing along this gravel road, looking west across plantation and native forest, Franklin.


Continuing along this gravel road, you'll notice an outcrop of Eucalypts on the left in the distance.


Look for the outcrop of Eucalyptus obliqua on your left
As you walk further along the track, look for the outcrop of Eucalyptus obliqua on your left


Turn left here rather than continuing on.
Not far after passing the Eucalypts, turn left here at this junction, rather than continuing on.

Turn left and walk along this road. You'll see an area where you can park a car or two, and as you continue along, the road ends and starts as a small 'bush' path. In some parts you might need to brush through some of the vegetation, but it is fairly easy going to the actual forest, and walk to the mill.


The road narrows into a rough but easy to navigate track
The road narrows into a slightly rough, but easy to navigate track

This very small part of the track leading to the Castle Forbes forest is a little overgrown, but keep going as the track is quite clear as you progress.
This short part of the track leading to the Castle Forbes forest is a little overgrown, but keep going, head towards the gum tree in the background and the track is quite clear as you progress through it.


As you follow this track to Castle Forbes Forest, this gum tree is where you will arrive.
As you follow this track to Castle Forbes Forest, this gum tree is where you will arrive.

This part of the track was surrounded by towering eucalypts in past years when I'd previously walked in but is now full of regrowth.


The beginning of the Castle Forbes Forest walk
The beginning of the Castle Forbes Forest walk - at the gum tree.

Old Mill Track Franklin Huon Valley - creek crossing
Castle Forbes Rivulet crossing -You will cross this water fairly quickly as you continue along the Old Mill Track Franklin Huon Valley


A lovely flat path leading through mixed forest, Old Mill Track Franklin Huon Valley
Continue on a lovely flat path leading through mixed forest, Old Mill Track Franklin Huon Valley.

You will come upon a clearing, which has been cleared of gorse.. Around this area you will find what remains of the old mill! I don't really walk past this area very far, as I've always felt it a little easy to get lost in here if you are not careful. In fact, Annie, the author of another website on the Old Mill Walk states that "Walkers should be careful not to wander off into the bush away from the old mill site as it very easy to get lost," (Sturm 2001).


At the end of the walk there has been some work done on clearing gorse. I usually have a quick look around at the rusty mill machinery then return back onto the track for the return journey.