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18 November 2020
A busy community group has turned its attention to Horsham’s Police Paddock Nature Reserve in efforts to build on passive recreation opportunities in the city.
Wimmera River Improvement Committee is scoping out plans to expand walking and cycling tracks at the wetland reserve, a renowned wildlife haven on Horsham’s northern fringe.
Committee chairman Gary Aitken said the reserve was one of Horsham’s ‘hidden gems’ and a perfect place for people needing to exercise and mentally recharge.
“I often describe the Police Paddock as the ‘mini Kakadu without the crocodiles’. It is an example of what the area would have originally looked like,” he said.
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“Many people might be unaware the paddock dams fill with Horsham stormwater, which means it is rare for it to ever be short of water.
“I’ve never seen it dry and what this means is that it is a rare haven in the northern part of Horsham for wildlife. It provides a home or stopover point for countless species of birds. In fact it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise and is just big enough to represent a natural parkland setting.”
Mr Aitken said extending the Rasmussen Road reserve’s walking and cycling opportunities made sense as more people embraced the benefits of passive recreation.
“We’ve developed the walking tracks over the years but have noted there are other parts of the reserve people haven’t had an opportunity to enjoy,” he said.
“We want to encourage more people to get out and walk or cycle, be it for one kilometre, two or five. We have the opportunity to do all sorts of things.”
Mr Aitken said the reserve was likely to play a key role in addressing a lack of environmental parkland suitable for walking or cycling in Horsham North.
“The Police Paddock has been the subject of a strong commitment from the committee and we see it as pivotal in a long-term project to establish a looping walking and cycling trail circuit that connects with the Wimmera River,” he said.
“It really is one of the great hidden gems. The dams are regularly stocked with fish and it’s a great place for a picnic in a bushland setting.
“It really is a wonderful natural asset of Horsham district and, importantly, free of charge for people to visit.”
Wimmera River Improvement Committee operates independently and is a key group working on Wimmera River frontage enhancements in Horsham. It provides a volunteer workforce for its projects under a Horsham Rural City Council banner.
The entire November 18, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!