Another section of the NW Coastal Pathway open.

It’s slowly coming together, the NW Coastal Pathway. A missing link was a bridge over the Forth River. It’s been built and today we are riding over it and the associated access paths.

Bicycle Network, Tasmania organised a ride to check out the new bridge and celebrate the opening of a bit more of the Coastal Pathway. Approx 25 riders took part including 2 Mayors and Bicycle Network riders from the north, south and in-between.

The meeting point at Leith
This is the section being ridden today

While driving to Leith I saw works in progress on another section of the pathway from Leith east to Don. At Don the trail will join up with the great network of shared paths that have been developed from Don into Devonport. When the work-in-progress has been completed we will be able to cycle from Latrobe to some distance out of Ulverstone on the way to Penguin. Maybe next Spring?

Back to today’s ride.

I was surprised at the number of people I knew on the ride. People from rides around Deloraine, people I had met while cycling in the Norfolk Plains and people met while riding with the NW cycling group. It was good to catch up.

For the ride to Ulverstone I had the video camera working and, because of riding with the group, it was not easy to take extra still images. So I didn’t – so watch the video !

To start with we walked up to the track being prepared to run beneath the Bass Highway. This will connect Leith with the shared path heading to Don that’s currently under construction. There was always an issue of how to locate this section of path to allow walking and cycling safely alongside the Bass Highway then someone “found” a forgotten existing tunnel under the highway and it became incorporated into the plan.

When we arrived at the tunnel the access path was open and we rode and walked up to and through the tunnel to check it out. On the other side the track takes off from the tunnel with quite a climb, it’s a good thing e-bikes are becoming so popular! I noticed, when returning to the car after the ride, that the track and tunnel had been closed off to the public – I guess an advantage of riding with Mayors.

A nice new widened footpath / shared path has been laid through Leith with only the crossing of the railway line yet to be fixed. The path went down to the Forth River where we cycled along more new pathway running upstream parallel to the river. When I looked for these works a year ago this pathway did not exist.

This is what the embankment looked like in Jan 2022

On that 2022 trip I did find the bridge. At that time it was blocked off with serious Do-Not-Enter fencing but I could see the old railway bridge was being filled with concrete and new fencing installed. As you can see, below and in the video, it has been finished to high standards and access to the various connecting trails is good.

We settled into the middle of the bridge while a drone took some pictures of the group for posterity. Or publicity.

In the middle is a bench setting – secondary purpose a vehicle barrier?
The decoration harks back to the days when it was a rail bridge

On the Turners Beach side of the bridge a series of boardwalks has been constructed allowing access to the bridge from various cul-de-sacs along the way. There are also links to existing footpaths.

One of the interconnecting footpaths
Well constructed solid boardwalks using recycled plastic flooring runs over marshy ground

The quality of all the works is impressive. Thank You Council.

Through Turners Beach we travelled on quiet side-roads. There is no indicated route to travel so the cyclist is left to make their own way. It would be very hard to get lost!

As you exit Turners Beach though you need to spot the track heading to Ulverstone. This may have a sign but I didn’t notice one. This section is, again, very well constructed and is well used. A large group like ours can cause a blockage when it stops for group photographs. Yes, we did. And yes, a runner advised us that the pathway was for him too!!

We passed the site of next weeks Ecofest at Camp Clayton
“Bring Clothes to Swap” we were advised

The advertising was formed from pieces of clothing – presumably worn out and not suitable for swapping.

We continued on this excellent trail avoiding the Native Hens that enjoy running across in front of the wheels. Every time I have ridden this path they do this. Haven’t hit one yet.

On exiting this section in previous times I have ridden on the road down to the start of the Ulverstone parkland. Not today – a new section of concrete path has been laid and was enjoyed by the group. This was welcome as, although the road isn’t busy, it has numerous speed humps along the length. With all this new work completed or soon to complete I am so looking forward to riding the complete track from Latrobe to Ulverstone sometime soon!!

The complete pathway from Latrobe to Wynyard ? – I like to think it will be completed in my cycling lifetime.

Today we rode on through the park areas avoiding dogs, kids, family groups, young teenagers ahanging, other cyclists and 4 wheel pedal vehicles that a local cafe hires out. After that the pathways continue alongside the Leven River up to the road bridge. Shared paths were added to the bridge design and the Mayor of the time insisted they would be wide enough for bicycles to cycle and pass in both directions. They do.

A little more path riding along the opposite bank and the safe route ends for now. Work is underway to take the pathway into Penguin but there are some geographical and railway issues which are making life difficult. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can ride from Latrobe to Penguin in safety.

All up – a good ride, a sunny and calm Autumnal day and a great crowd to ride with.

’til next time ……………………………..

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. it's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

3 thoughts on “Another section of the NW Coastal Pathway open.”

    1. Thanks Bob and your young Nurse. I think the Northern Rivers RT is one I have been thinking about as a winter ride so, yes, that website is interesting. I am talking with the Melbourne Brompton Club re the possibility of a Rail Trail ride in the south too. Unfortunately now we do not have a caravan we will have to watch the costs and Sue, in her 70s, no longer camps. The mainland trail rides are probably an aspiration – but you have to dream.


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