There are remnants of grassy woodland ecosystems in several reserves in Armidale and other towns. They are great places to combine exercise with nature play and social distancing.
- South Guyra Travelling Stock Route – access points include Vernon St – big diverse area to explore – wildflowers in autumn, spring and summer – hasn’t been stocked for some years.
- Guyra also has a little woodland remnant around the Heritage Viewing Platform, and a very different ecosystem at Mother of Ducks Lagoon
- Mount Mutton Reserve in Uralla – popular walking track around the reserve and road to the top. You can step off-track if you want. Swamp Wallabies and Red Necked Wallabies
- Mike O’Keefe Woodland off Kentucky and Kennedy Streets includes tracks, a few big old trees, a dam with waterbirds, wild grasses, and dense shrubby areas planted by Armidale Tree Group (trusty responsible for managing this reserve)
- Angophora Bushland Reserve beside Bona Vista Road – enter off Burgess St – some magnificent twisty trees, young trees and shrubs planted by volunteers, walking track through meadow
- Manna Gums Bushland Reserve: includes a section of Black Gully with aquatic ecosystem. One mown track between O’Connor Rd and Memorial Av . Nice little bit of woodland on the north bank of the gully & a secluded seat – best accessed from O’Connor St.; other woodland sections, big and small trees, some wildflowers and planted shrubs (plus areas of long dense weedy grass best avoided after wet seasons). Sometimes grey kangaroos.
- Bushland in Drummond Park surrounding Apex Lookout (vehicle access to the lookout is closed but walking through the bushland is permitted so long as distancing and not-gathering rules are followed). Some children play hide and seek among the trees. The track between the main lookout and the Jessie-Newton corner is a great spot to watch butterflies patrolling their territories and chasing each other on sunny days.
- Snow Gums Bushland Reserve beside the north end of Markham St – has a narrow walking track. From the southern end you go up steps through good bushland with wildflowers and Snow Gum trees, then past a revegetated area, through a bit of native grassland you can go hunt in, then woodland that needs more careful weeding, up past houses through the sediments and rocks of an ancient river bed, to a revegetated former basalt quarry below Erskine Street (hunt for different rock).
Activities to do in woodlands:
- Woodlands have useful playthings like logs, sticks and gumnuts as well as trees – enjoy using them. Perhaps you’ll find a climbable tree!
- Find gum leaves that have been partly eaten; take one home to draw. Look for what eats them – on leaves near you or up in the tree tops
- Try some of the activities suggested for meadows, plants and minibeasts. There are even more wildflowers and insects in woodlands than in other parks or meadows because there are so many different habitats
- Carefully look for minibeasts under fallen bark at the base of a tree or in leaf litter: beetles, larvae, millipedes, skinks or flattish shells of little native snails
- On frosty or dewy mornings look at the different patterns of spider webs made by various types of spiders on the grass
- Insects are slow to move after frosts so you can look closely at them
- Listen and look for birds, record their calls for later, call back to them
- Hunt for signs of larger animals (poo, footprints, scratches on tree trunks)