The disused rail corridor is not being used to its potential
Converting the rail corridor to a recreational trail opens up opportunities for tourism businesses and locals to get more regular exercise.
The Derwent Valley is one of the most beautiful in Australia. Destinations include Mt Field National Park, Tyenna River and cafes and farm gates in Westerway, Bushy Park and Plenty, including Ashbolt Farms, 2 Metre Tall Brewery, Reid Fruits and Salmon Ponds.
Mt Field National Park is a popular tourist destination year-round, and the recently opened Maydena Mountain Bike Park is now attracting large numbers of new bike-loving visitors.
There is great potential for cycle tourism in the valley from New Norfolk to Maydena but the roads are narrow and unsafe for riders.
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Use the rail corridor to create a rail trail in three stages.
The disused Derwent Valley railway line runs alongside the River Derwent between New Norfolk and Maydena.
Conversion of this line to a rail trail would give tourists the chance to walk or bike from the mouth of the Derwent, through farmland, to Mt Field national park and mountain bike park at Maydena.
The Derwent Valley Rail Trail would be a leading tourism experience
The project could be undertaken in several stages.
Stage 1 – The initial proposal is for a wide, 7km long pathway from Westerway to National Park to connect farm outlets and cafes with the entrance of Mt Field National Park. At the western end is the Rail Tracks Riders service, which connects through to Maydena. At the eastern end, the path will connect to the heritage rail being developed by Derwent Valley Rail.
Stage 2 – New Norfolk to Westerway. From the antique shops and history-filled town centre along the beautiful Derwent Valley, past grazing land, vineyards and small fruit farms.
Stage 3 – Granton to New Norfolk. Completing the scenic rail trail all the way from the tourist collector point of Hobart into the heart of the Derwent Valley.
- An investigation into the tourism potential of a Derwent Valley rail trail, conducted by University of Tasmania masters student Ruolin Wang in 2016, included a survey of current and potential users of the national park. A majority of people surveyed supported a rail trail.
- The Derwent Valley Railway group is keen to re-establish heritage rail operations on the line, and is working to get accreditation for their locomotives and rolling stock from their depot in New Norfolk. The group opposes conversion of the line to a cycling and walking path.
- The Derwent Valley Council is allowing the Derwent Valley Rail group more time to prove their case and the Tasmanian Government has promised $25,000 to the group for rail reconstruction.
Bicycle Network is seeking:
– funding for a feasibility study into development of a rail trail and assessment of tourism benefits
– in principle approval from the Derwent Valley Council.
Write to Derwent Valley councillors
Contact Derwent Valley Council members to let them know you support a rail trail.
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