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Horsnell Gully with a taste of Heysen

Sun 3 Oct 2021

Walk name/location
Horsnell Gully with a taste of Heysen
Walk grade
Trail Walker

This walk commences at the car park on Coach Road, Horsnell Gully. There are spectacular views over Adelaide from the carpark. Coach Road was the principal road into Adelaide from the east during the 1870s and 1880s. There was a coach gate located on the highest point of ‘Coach Hill’, which is known today as the suburb of Skye. The driver blew a trumpet to tell the settlers that he had been through the gate and they had to climb up to close it. Near the spot where the power lines cross Coach Road, there was a hut for a ‘team’s keeper’ who kept fresh horses for the coaches.

From the car park we walk along Coach Road for a short distance before dipping down into Gandy’s Gully. From there it climbs to meet up with the Heysen Trail. We follow the Heysen Trail down to the Giles ruins and the reed beds. At Giles we visit three cottages, ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ and the reed beds for morning tea. These cottages were built by Charles Giles and John Horsnell in the 1840s so are in need of some maintenance. At the junction of the two creeks they established The Reedbeds, an area cultivated by three gardeners and their families who lived in the cottages. A slate-lined channel helped direct waters from the creek into The Reedbeds. Hornsell established a nursery and home called ‘Grove Hill’ nearby at Norton Summit.

After the ruins we have a bit of climbing to do along the Heysen Trail. This is a lovely section of the Heysen Trail and is renowned for its wildflowers.

From here we head to Horsnell Gully Conservation Park with more interesting ruins with helpful information panels that may be perused by those interested in history during a lunch break. John Horsnell, once coachman to Governor Gawler, settled the gully in 1842, establishing market gardens and orchards of walnut, Osage orange and olive trees – remnants of which can still be seen today. He established an English cottage garden that included roses, violets and agapanthus, and the first dairy in South Australia. In 1860-61, a house of local sandstone was built and, at one time, housed 14 children. The house remains and a coach house, stable and milking shed can also be found nearby. These ruins are well maintained and represent one of the earliest farms in the area.

After lunch the fun part of the walk includes a clamber up a waterfall (be prepared some crawling on hands and knees).

Contact me on the day on 0400320943 if necessary.

Sunday 3 October 2021
Walk Leader
Michael Joyce
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Meeting Location

Meeting location details will be provided after you have registered for this event.

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Event Fees
Event fee
AUD $10.00
(under 18 years of age AUD $1.00)
Golden Boots cards

Walk Specifics
Start time
End time
Walking from
Walking to
Loop Walk
14 km
Rocky slopes
Trailwalker experience