Barton's Mill-Little Darkin Walk (Walk #7a)


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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see Photo Galleries)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references


 Walk map  Photo

Click on map for large version.

Mossy boulders and balgas, Oct. 2003.

Click on photo for larger version.

More photos.

        3D map view



  Google Map

Using this map.



 Additional Satellite Imagery

Click here

for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area. -Use zoom bar

for road details.

For Google Earth users

Step 1: Left Click here

For fly-in to waypoints and route

 on image of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Step 2: Left Click here

For fly-in to 3D view

 of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

in Google Earth to "3" (via 'Tools' menu, 'Options' & 'View' tab).


         Route profile



 Walk description  
Location :

36 kms ESE of Perth. 

Length :

16.5 field kms (65% off-track).

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM   (What does this mean?)

Amount of uphill walking : 300m (cumulative ascent)
GPS-preferred :


Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

Orrong Road or Albany Hwy to Welshpool Road, then right into Canning Road, then follow Pickering Brook Road, continuing on gravel road (and part old bitumen) for final few kms (crossing intersection with Ashendon Road) to reach old abandoned Barton's Mill Prison site. The Start point for the walk is at the beginning of a minor vehicle track which initially heads approx. NNE, away from Barton's Mill site. (See access update below.)

Cautions: 1) Final km of access road is in very poor condition and badly pot-holed in places.  A  parallel  gravel road branches off to the  left (at waypoint 'SIDERD') about 400m after Ashendon Road intersection and about 800m before Barton's Mill. It can be followed to bypass the last part of the pot-holed road.

2) Barton's Mill is an isolated site and cars should be well secured to minimise risk of theft or vandalism. Also take care on the roads as the area is very popular with trail-bike riders at weekends.

 IMPORTANT UPDATE (2010) :  DEC permanently closed Pickering Brook Road to all traffic from December 2009 from about 200m east of the last residential property. The closure was in response to numerous complaints from residents about trail and quad bike activity in the area.
Barton's Mill will still be accessible via Ashendon Rd (about 10 km to intersection from Mundaring Weir Rd in north, or 11.5 km from Brookton Hwy in south). DEC planned to completely rehabilitate the area in 2010-2011.

Important access issue:   Unfortunately entry to the northernmost part of this traditional bushwalking area is now prohibited under by-laws and related policies and guidelines as it lies within a 2 km wide Reservoir Protection Zone ('RPZ') around the Mundaring Weir Reservoir. Bushwalkers should not enter that area. Fines of up to $200 apply for unauthorised entry (and are recommended in Sept. 2010 Parliamentary Committee report to be increased to $5000). I accept no responsibility if users of this site ignore the restrictions and this update at their own risk. Restricted access around public drinking water source areas is intended to protect against perceived possible acute risks to water quality.

Most walks on WalkGPS lie within the outer water catchment areas, 'safely' beyond the RPZs. However, walkers also need to be aware that in 2007 DoW in effect recommended a prohibition of all traditional off-track bushwalking activities across the entire Perth region catchment areas covering 4500 sq km, far beyond the limits of  existing or proposed Reservoir Protection Zones (see map). By March 2008, the DoW had been persuaded to reconsider its published position. The new Policy of 2012  refrains from banning traditional bushwalking in the outer catchments. The community, including visitors to WalkGPS, needs to remain vigilant to ensure that commonsense continues to prevail over regulatory zealotry.   See also Home page: 'Access' and Related access issues on WalkGPS, and DOW's "Mundaring Weir Catchment Area Drinking Water Source Protection Plan" of 2007.

Escape route/s :

Via Hairpin Bend Road (dirt road through middle of walk area) to either Ashendon Road or Reservoir Road (both dirt roads) in north/NW, or to Dale Road (dirt road) etc. in south. 

Main features


This is a pleasant circuit walk around the lower part of the Little Darkin River valley. The eastern portion of the walk route lies within the Helena National Park, the remainder being in State Forest. The route passes mainly through open jarrrah forest (with banksias and balgas) and some wandoo, along the edges of  lateritic hilltops and across a few large outcrops.  The hillsides offer some good views,  including to Lake C.Y O'Connor (previously known as Helena Reservoir) in the north and elsewhere good views across the valley.

The large clearing near the start point of the walk is of historical interest.  One of the early timber mills in the State was established here by Alexander Barton and operated from 1902 to 1937. The mill was subsequently replaced by the minimum security Barton's Mill Prison which operated from 1942 to 1989. (See reference below.) The site was eventually cleared to encourage forest regeneration, but unfortunately has become badly littered and is popular with off-road vehicle recreationists, especially trail-bike riders.

Note: The forest in this walk area was affected by the wildfires of January 2005 (evidently started by arsonist/s) which destroyed 28,000ha of forest canopy between Pickering Brook and Karragullen in the west, Lake C.Y. O'Connor in the north, and Nockine Road in the east. However, by Autumn 2007 the forest was already recovering well along the walk route. In many places re-sprouting of the jarrah trees from their bases is providing a more interesting, leafy understorey than previously existed. The canopy is also re-establishing quite quickly, but it may be several years before the belts of heathland fringing the granite outcrops fully re-establish. The forest walking is still mainly relatively open and pleasant (April 2007). 

Controlled burns:  See DEC's current 6-season indicative burn program.  

Additional maps :

WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.  

WalkGPS reconnaissance history: Click here for a map of past WalkGPS test walks in the walk area, plus the final route. The final route was selected only after several visits to the area which aimed to achieve a walk that would be the most rewarding.

Other: Kelmscott & Beraking 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2133-4 & 2133-1;

or Kelmscott 1:50,000 Sheet (WA Forests Dept., 1984);

or Kelmscott 1:25,000 2134-IV, NE sheet (Dept. of Lands & Survey, 1982; Series R811) -available on DVD.

Other background references :

Pickering Brook Heritage Group site - for historical notes and many photos of the early timber industry in the area, including at  Bartons Mill; also "My Life at Barton's Mill" (the childhood memoirs of Irene White); and the history of Barton's Mill Prison.

Barton's Mill Prison site assessment: Heritage Council of W.A., July 1998.  -This also includes a useful summary of the history of the large clearing at the start point of this walk.

Route notes :


Head initially NNE for 1.4 kms along the dirt road from the Start point via waypoints '1' and '2'.  At waypt '3' veer approx. east to walk off track for less than 150m before reaching an old (overgrown) vehicle track at about waypt '4'. At '4' veer NE again to follow the old track  to '5' where it joins a still-used dirt track.  Continue gently downhill on this dirt track ENE for approx. 400m and at '6' veer NE off track through open jarrah forest for about 300m to reach a small granite outcrop at '7', close to a stream course. Veer eastward through heath for about 100m to '8' and then cross the stream course and climb steadily uphill NE-ward for 700m to reach the top of the slope at '9'.  Veer northward, cross a dirt road at '10' and soon begin walking downhill through jarrah-banksia forest to cross Hairpin Bend Road at '11' after 750m. Cross the nearby stream course and reach some picturesque mossy granite boulders and balgas among the jarrah trees at about '12'.  Veer eastward around the hillside to soon reach a large granite outcrop at about '13' with good eastward views across the Little Darkin River valley and to the more distant skyline east of Darkin River valley  and east of Lake C.Y. O'Connor (Helena Reservoir).  Veer NNE off the outcrop to cross a stream course at about '14'. Continue NE along the hillside and begin gently descending to '15'.  The route then  descends more steeply to reach '16', on a ridge with views through the trees to Lake C.Y. O'Connor. Veer more eastward to continue down the ridge and reach Reservoir Road at waypt '17'.  Turn right (south) to follow the Road for 700m and cross the bridge over the  Little Darkin River. (You will see a water flow metering weir just upstream from the bridge.) After crossing the bridge, where the Road veers to the left (east), continue southward and off track up a ridge, partly  through recently burnt wandoo woodland via waypt '19'. Climb more steeply over partly rocky ground to reach the approx. crest of the ridge near '20'.  Then veer approx. south to soon reach a granite outcrop at about '21' with good views across the valley and over part of the route already covered.  Continue south, via waypoints '22' and '23' for about 1 km, mainly through heath and across more outcrops.  Then veer SW along the slope to '24' and then south to reach a large outcrop at 'BIGRK', with good views across the valley. Veer east along slope to leave the outcrop and  walk through open jarrah-banksia forest via '26' and '27' for about 800m.  Then veer SE across the gentle valley floor, cross an old abandoned (?)railway/tramway cutting/log loading point (at 'CTG'), and soon after cross Darkin Ridge Road (dirt road) at '28'.  Turn sharply to the SW after crossing the road and walk up a gentle slope, often having to detour around large log remnants left from past logging of the forest. After about 500m the slope flattens out for about 200m (on the lateritic hill top) before you then descend a laterite 'breakaway' quite steeply,  soon reaching a granite outcrop with surrounding heathlands. Follow the outcrop quite steeply downslope via '29' and '30' to then cross the Little Darkin River and reach Hairpin Bend Road (dirt road) at '31'. Turn right on the Road and very soon after take the left fork in the road. Follow the dirt road via '32', '33' and '34', then veer approx. westward off track to cross a large granite outcrop and small stream at '35'.  Continue west uphill to re-enter the forest and cross a small hill to meet a dirt road T-junction at about '36'. You can then stay on vehicle tracks for the final 1.5 kms of the walk.  -Follow the westward road from '36'  to '37' and then continue via '38', '39', '40' to return to the Start point.



 Waypoint listing


Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..."  if you wish  to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX  file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software.  If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk Map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)


Route list :

Projection : UTM       Datum : Australian Geodetic 1966       Zone :  50

Waypt name         Easting      Northing         Comments

START       425044  6453012   Start NNE-ward on minor dirt vehicle track. 

1           425168  6453308   On dirt vehicle track, heading approx. NNE.

2           425408  6453862   On dirt vehicle track, heading approx. NE.

3           425662  6454194   Veer approx. east to leave vehicle track. 

4           425772  6454131   Meet old overgrown vehicle track.

5           425964  6454319   Meet still-used vehicle track.

6           426299  6454445   Leave vehicle track.

7           426491  6454658   Small granite outcrop, close to stream.

8           426617  6454655   In low heath, near stream.

9           427160  6455087   In forest, on laterite plateau.

10          427125  6455320   Cross dirt vehicle track.

11          427059  6456069   Cross Hairpin Bend Road.

12          427058  6456192   Near moss-covered granite boulders.

13          427222  6456281   On large granite outcrop with views east.

14          427249  6456375   Near stream course.

15          427633  6456797   Descending toward NE.

16          427625  6456907   View of Lake C.Y.O'Connor through the trees.

17          427799  6457065   Meet Reservoir Road.

BRDGE       427947  6456327   Cross bridge over Little Darkin River.

19          428046  6456012   Ascending ridge with view west across valley.

20          428215  6455766   Close to crest of ridge.

21          428249  6455567   On west-sloping granite outcrop.

22          428259  6454910   On rocky ground/outcrop.

23          428292  6454369

24          428160  6454244

BIGRK       428207  6454122   Large granite outcrop. Views Sth. across valley.

26          428709  6454100   In jarrah-banksia forest.

27          428944  6454005   In jarrah-banksia forest.

CTG         429116  6453876   Abandoned (?)railway cutting and log loading point.

28          429233  6453792   Cross Darkin Ridge Road.

29          428464  6453252   Descending granite outcrop in broad gully.

30          428256  6453058   Descending granite outcrop in broad gully.

31          428058  6452917   Meet Hairpin Bend Road.

32          427637  6453121   On dirt vehicle track.

33          427452  6453065   On dirt vehicle track.

34          427287  6452589   On dirt vehicle track.

35          427182  6452588   Cross stream course over granite outcrop.

36          426423  6452497   Meet dirt vehicle track.

37          426159  6452402   On dirt vehicle track.

38          425679  6452651   On dirt vehicle track.

39          425544  6452633   On dirt vehicle track.

40          425422  6452764   On dirt vehicle track.

END         425044  6453012   Back at Start point. 

Additional waypoints on map :

SIDERD      424352  6453378   Side road about 400m after Ashendon Road.

ROAD        425010  6452901   On dirt road at Bartons Mill site, near START.

41          425472  6452982

42          426188  6453249

43          426022  6453744

44          427125  6453850

45          427595  6453926

46          427641  6454067

HRPIN       427707  6455442

47          428478  6452184

48          429431  6452530

49          429706  6452779

50          430131  6452659

51          430233  6452895

52          429781  6453481

53          429031  6454879

54          429334  6455055

55          429212  6455474

56          429926  6455525

57          429117  6456283

58          427908  6456678

59          426987  6452149

60          426665  6452084

61          423915  6453409


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This page was last updated  :   24 March, 2017

 Site authored by David Osborne.  Photographs and text are copyright  2003-2013 David Osborne.