Bicycle Network: Regional Routes
Launceston - Herrick Rail Trail (Tasmania)
Development of this trail between Launceston and Herrick, passing the towns of Lilydale and Scottsdale, has the best potential of any Rail Trail possibility in Tasmania
Hope for rail trail progress
20 March 2013. There is optimism that work will resume soon on the exciting Launceston - Herrick Rail Trail, currently stalled by opposion from a handful of adjoining landholders.
Tasmanian Minister for Crown Lands, Brian Wightman is considering the granting of a licence for the extension of the trail, and if approved, the local Scottsdale Rotary Club will get top work on the next stage.
The first stage of the trail opened on an exhilarating and cloudless Tasmanian day in Spring when 200 riders took to Tasmania’s North East Rail Trail, near Scottsdale, to celebrate the opening of the first fourteen kilometres of the Launceston - Herrick Rail Trail.
This first section of the rail trail starts 7km east of Scottsdale and goes most of the way to Legerwood, winding through beautiful tall forests and emerging into an idyllic farming landscape. The entry point is marked on Tonganah Rd, east of Scottsdale.
The gravel road takes you to a large parking area and the start of the riding section of the Trail. It’s a gentle, steady climb with a flat section for the last
couple of kilometres before popping out of state forest at the top of the Snake Track road and into the little town of Legerwood.
The Trail goes through spectacular tree fern-lined cuttings that locals say used to be frequented by a thylacine and her pup sunning themselves up high on the rock!
The fact that the 14km of Stage 1 was rideable was a huge achievement by Scottsdale Rotary. The group persisted in their advocacy of the trail, despite considerable opposition from adjacent landowners in future sections. The sight of 200 normal-looking people - riders of all ages and abilities - must have been quite a shock to those who thought that Rotary was a little crazy in their vision to develop a world class rail trail experience.
They would have been even more surprised when, in early February, more than 1,000 people spent the night in Scottsdale on the first leg of the 9 day Great Escapade down Tasmania’s east coast.
Scottsdale and the north east of Tasmania are struggling to adjust to a post-forestry Tasmania. With timber company Gunns in receivership and many new forest conservation reserves proposed, the once vibrant forestry industry is in crisis.
Supporters of the trail see the huge potential for the disused 134km rail trail that extends from the city of Launceston through state forest, small towns and farmland to the north east town of Herrick.
The first stage of the trail received a considerable boost from Forestry Tasmania; they are fully supportive of the development through state forest.
The trail has now stalled because of the objections of landowners who abut the 3km where the trail exits state forest and descends into Legerwood. Scottsdale Rotary is still waiting on the Minister for Crown Lands, Brian Wightman, to grant a licence.
If you find yourself in north east Tasmania, make sure you call in to the newly established tourist souvenir shop at the Legerwood Park and ask about the ride. Call into shops and businesses in Scottsdale and tell them you’ve heard about this fantastic new trail. With an abundance of great wine, produce and landscapes in the region, how can this not be Tasmania’s first truly fantastic rail trail experience?
Report by Emma Pharo, Bicycle Tasmania and Malcolm Cowan, Tamar Bicycle User Group
Trail Building Underway
5 April 2012 The Scottsdale Rotary Club received $89,000 towards building the first stage of the North East Rail Trail between Tonganah and Legerwood, in northern Tasmania. Tonganah is located 5 km east of Scottsdale, where the rail terminates adjacent to the recently closed saw mills.
Robin Thompson of the Rotary Club said that “The grant from the Community Fund will get the Trail up and running, although we will need further funds to complete surfaces to the standard we are aiming to achieve. We are excited about the opportunities for bike riders and local businesses. This first section will be the driver to extend the Trail through to Herrick at the bottom of the Welborough Pass and our long term vision is for the Trail to run form Launceston through Scottsdale to Legerwood and on the Herrick – a bike way to the East Coast”.
Tassie trail evaluation
15 June 2011. The 135km Launceston to Herrick rail corridor is under scrutiny for conversion to a Rail Trail. Positive Solutions, a consultancy outfit from Hobart are on the case, and should be releasing a preliminary report by the end of June. Conclusions are eagerly awaited.
This trail proposal seems to be generating some traction within the Tasmanian Government, with Sport and Recreation Tasmania funding the current study. More to come when there are recommendations available to review.
Boasts best potential of any Tasmanian Trail possibility
23 July 2010. The old railway line between Launceston and Herrick, running roughly 135km long in Tasmania's north east, is being viewed with enthusiasm about the possibility of converting it into a considerable Rail Trail.
The 75km section from Launceston to Scottsdale still exists, with rails in place, but is no longer currently active. The 60km beyond Scottsdale to Herrick has had its rails removed already.
This corridor is a prime candidate for rail banking treatment, which would see it converted into a Rail Trail to preserve the history and integrity of the line, and give locals a significant recreation asset and the region a top cycling tourism drawing card.
There are considerable mountain biking opportunities in the region, and the area is already popular with road touring riders.
View Lilydale - Scottsdale (Tas) in a larger map