I haven’t done much trail running and, as much as I love being out in the bush, I still get a bit nervous about my capabilities out there. On Saturday, I took myself off for a little, tame adventure – part of the Old Beechy Rail Trail from Beech Forest to Ferguson.
I headed first for Colac then south through Gellibrand – a gorgeous little town nestled in the forest. The winding road to get to Beech Forest is dramatic and stunning, taking you deep into the heart of the Otways. Beech Forest itself is a very small hamlet, gaining some popularity years ago as the home of shuffling marathoner Cliff Young.
In fact, the trail starts near the Beech Forest rest stop and crosses over the road to the Cliff Young Memorial Park with a gumboot as a fitting tribute to this character.
From here, the trail weaves along beside the road but, for the most part, a million miles away as you run through fantasy movie worthy scenery. Trees and ferns provide cover and a green corridor to run through with a wonderful soft trail underfoot. Simply magical.
After running through this corridor, you run up a short incline and are among farmland with open, dramatic views across the rolling hills with the ocean just tantalisingly out of sight beyond the final hill.
At this point, the road is alongside but you don’t at all feel encroached on and I didn’t see anyone else on the trail, either cyclists, walkers or runners.
The scenery is constantly varied and always beautiful – one minute having open views, the next being accompanied by tall and imposing trees in a plantation. With a kilometre to go, you cross the main road and run down and then back up the only real hill on this part of the trail (and nothing like those you’ll encounter on the rest of it!) then you’re in Ferguson. Here, you can stop for a drink and some food at the cafe – I turned around and headed back towards Beech Forest but it certainly seemed popular.
On the way back, the rain started to roll in and I was lucky enough to get a sprinkling just when I needed it, helping me cool down from my run.
An absolutely beautiful trail in an stunning part of the world. I feel so lucky that it’s a mere couple of hours drive from my house and I will definitely be back.