Start point: Nimmons Bridge, Galatea Road, Newtown Victoria – Directions
Distance: 8.5km (17km return) to Linton
Track: Good – compacted gravel
Birds: White-winged Choughs, honeyeaters, Willie Wagtail, Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Crimson Rosellas and plus Corellas and Cockatoos, Scarlet Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush
Notes: Although this trail starts in Ballarat, I suggest instead beginning at Nimmons Bridge. The initial stages of the trail pass through industrial parts of Ballarat and then quite open country which can be challenging with the winds. I should know – I lived in the area for 20 years! However, Nimmons Bridge is a lovely starting off point with good parking, picnic tables and pleasant views. The bridge itself takes you high across a valley and at times gives good views of raptors such as Black Kites that soar along the ridges. Another bridge further along also allows great views. The trail at times traverses raised embankments placing you with treetop vantage points which are always handy to get closer to the birds of the canopy. A section of the trail skirts the edge of the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary.
This map stops at Linton, but you can continue on to Skipton. However, the best birding is to be had between Nimmons Bridge and Linton, and more importantly you need to take the diversion off the trail down to the Bird Sanctuary. You can easily spend a lot of time here with good picnic facilities, toilets, information boards and of course the birds.
Clarkesdale is a Birdlife Reserve with an interesting history. It is nicely set out with good facilities, sign-posted walks, bird hides and dams. Well maintained by its manager and volunteer groups. Bookings are preferred if you intend to camp. You can enter the reserve via Graded Road which diverges to the left off the main trail just before the second high bridge (see map). The track here is a bit rough and steep at first, but this is more likely to be a problem when you want to return to the main rail trail after your visit.