Closed Sign Gone and Path Cleared on the River Walk at Killarney Road

Cllr. Charlie Farrelly, with the overgrown river walk at Herbert Bridge behind him on July 12 last. Inset: the proliferation of Japanese Knotweed on the river bank and, earlier this week, after the path had been cleared. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Around the middle of last month a somewhat mysterious, home made, sign appeared on the Herbert Bridge access to the town-long spanning river walk.

Like the railway line before it, this little stretch of the walk is a favourite with people on this side of the towns.

You have the River Maine humming away to itself as it ambles its way towards Castlemaine on one side while the mercifully well fenced off town sewage treatment plant does its own thing as silently as it can on the other.

However, the walkers found the walk taken from under their feet as July headed for its mid term and there was much talk as the who was responsible.

Time For Action Again

Enter Cllr. Charlie Farrelly who explained that the walkers in the area weren’t as active as usual after the spurt of grass growth which completely covered the path and the area around it.

Dogs and all were getting lost in the thick undergrowth.

Cllr. Farrelly, who was one of those responsible for reviving the fortunes of this leg of the walk back in the spring of 2004 – and long before he darkened the door of the council chamber, decided it was time for action again.

He spoke with those with the power to do something about it and he didn’t get the outcome he wanted so he went about it another way. Politics being the art of the possible and that.

KCC Power Brokers

He struck a deal with the KCC power brokers and this allowed him to employ a local man to make the path walk-able again – which he did last week.

While walking the path during the week I was struck by how absolutely beautiful the so demonised Japanese Knotweed is.

I’ve often heard that it was first introduced to this side of the world for the colour of its stem which was used to brighten up gardens in winter-time.

But this was the first time I ever saw it blossoming and flowering so spectacularly on the banks of the river along the restored path.

A Relatively New Phenomenon

And that’s a relatively new phenomenon as I never came across it on any stretch of the river while fishing there over the years.

The Maine always had its own charming wild flower culture along its entire stretch from Tobermaing to Castlemaine and I wonder if the Japanese Knotweed invasion will change, or has changed, all that.

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