Friday, January 16, 2009

Woy Woy Bay Walk

Today I took a hastily arranged hike with the members of the National Parks Association of NSW around Woy Woy and Phegans Bay , I spotted the details of the hike on Friday and rang up to get a place for Saturday.
Meeting at 9 a.m in Mr Della Bosca's front yard , we got ready and I introduced myself to all , I quickly noticed that I seem to be the youngest possibly and I was under- equipped , also everyone seemed to be looking rather fit ( fitter than me )
We set off straight up the hill at a cracking pace and I soon fell to the back of the mob as my asthama kicked in , luckily the hill climb was short and it levelled out as we headed around the top of the ridge overlooking Phegans Bay

Horsefield Bay

Then we short cutted through some back streets and headed along the ridge above Horsefield Bay to a place known by rock climbers as Gnomelands , not finding any gnomes but spectacular views of the bays and Peninsula instead we headed off back tracking to the top of the road leading to Woy Woy Bay

Gnomelands View

We then went down an old track (now called a fire trail) which leads to the bottom corner of the bay , I could tell that this was a very old track by the rock works and that there would have had to been something worthwhile at the end for all this effort.
At the end of the track I found some old retaining walls from a garden around an old home site.
Old parish maps for this area show a few land holdings along the waters edge , the largest being of 40 acres at the head of a creek formerly known as Scotts Creek , this land was owned by R . J Scott.

1800's wharf

Records say that R . J Scott was a health inspector for Woy Woy Shire Council in 1929 , I had been looking for Scotts Creek for some time after seeing an old photo


At the Scotts creek site we found the remains of an old wharf that I figure would have to date to the 1800's from it's construction , we also saw on old lemon tree nestled amongst lantana ( a sure sign of human habitation ) , evidently these lemons taste great still if you dare to wade into the scrub to get one

Lime burning kiln ruin

On the way out I examined a pile of cockle shells and what would appear to be clay lumps surrounding the pile , this would appear to be remains of a lime burning kiln , the clay being the kiln walls and the shells left over still inside , there also seemed to be fish traps made from sandstone blocks lying in the nearby mangroves.
Lime was produced for the building industry in the 1800's by gathering shells and burning them in large cone shaped kilns , shells were sourced from the many aboriginal middens and deposits around the waters edge , later on they were dug by hand out of the mud.

Old home site Woy Woy Bay

Further on we visited some more old home sites along the waters edge , someone had spent hours making sandstone retaining walls that led up the hillside , with the moss growing on them they looked very " Indiana Jones " apart from the odd concrete formed stairs , I date these sites at around the 1920's


We made our way around the waters edge across a small creek in a nice rainforest remnant and emerged into civilisation at the end of Taylor Street , a 7 k walk that took around 3 hours.
Thanks to the walkers of the NPA for having me along and I recommend that if you want to try bushwalking then go with this mob because they ran a professional operation.
Hopefully I will return to do future walks or possibly join up in the future , the next local walk will be to the Basalt Quarry Railway site so check the website in you are interested.

View all the photos

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