The Old Beechy Rail Trail follows the old narrow-gauge railway line, “The Beechy” that carried huge timbers that were cut from this mountain district over many years. Harvesting of regrowth forest continues today albeit with more modern techniques. The old photos in the pavilion in Beech Forest provide a historical backdrop to this forest ride. This trail is just about all up or all down, depending on the direction you take and it travels through a range of forest environments. The remnants of an old bridge, engines, and sidings can be found along the way.
The surface is mostly compacted gravel on a gentle gradient, which is what you would expect from a rail trail. Parts of the trail are a little rough but this is part of its charm as a bush trail. The short sections on gravel roads are considerably steeper than the trail. Current improvement works being carried out on the track also necessitate additional road use. These should be completed by the of publication. As this is thick timber country the ride should not be attempted on extreme fire danger days.
The trail is surrounded by timber plantations and there are logging trucks that use the road infrequently.
Gellibrand is located 55 kilometers northwest of Apollo Bay. Leaving the coast from Skenes Creek, turn left at the Beech Forest Mount Sabine Road (Turtons Road). After passing through some magnificent forest country and then through Beech Forest, you turn right at Charleys Creek Road and follow this to Gellibrand. Vicroads Map 101:A2.
Food and Drink
There is a fantastic general store/café at Gellibrand with lots of great food. Both towns have hotels that serve food and refreshments. There is nothing in between.
The track continues in the other direction from Gellibrand to Colac via Barongarook, a total distance of 27 kilometers.
The ride commences at the railway siding in Gellibrand, close by to the local pub, general store, and picnic facilities. Starting along the footpath, the trail crosses the road and joins the old rail line as it heads out of the small town, up through surrounding farmland slowly climbing into the rainforest where the birdlife is prolific. After a few kilometers passing through tall timber country the trail becomes bordered by young regrowth forest, passing close by copses where recent logging has been occurring. After the Banool siding the route leaves the forest and moves on to a section of road whose gradient will get your legs working.
A granny gear will help a lot. After about one and a half kilometers on the road, the route rejoins the trail as it heads off to the left back into the forest. Further along the trail crosses the road at the Wimbah siding where there is a small shelter. At around eleven kilometers the track has been closed temporarily due to logging and the route returns to the road until you reach the Dinmont siding.
From here on the path is heavily shaded as it hugs the side of the hill where after rainwater cascades down small creeks under the path. This section of the path is being realigned between logging areas and farmland and should take you all the way to Beech Forest along an improved trail. The end of your journey takes you to an information pavilion and toilet. The pub is about 200 meters ahead down the road if you want to get some refreshment.
- 0.0 The ride leaves the old Gellibrand Station siding on the left of the road near the picnic and playground facilities.
- 0.1 Cross over the road and follow the footpath in front of the general store and then back across the road after you have passed the caravan park. You might consider just following the road until the trail commences on the left.
- 0.4 The track veers away from the road where it splits in three directions. Follow the middle path up the slight incline running parallel to the road.
- 1.2 Cross over the road and continue along the trail.
- 4.6 The trail meets a logging track. Follow the trail around to the left.
- 4.9 The trail reaches a meeting point with the road. Follow the trail on the right-hand path.
- 5.6 The route moves on to a section of road on the left. Turn right onto the road going up the hill. The gradient here will get your legs working. Granny gear territory coming up.
- 6.2 There is a logging road off to the left. Continue to the right heading downhill.
- 7.0 You reach the top of the hill where there is another side road. Follow the main road to the left around the crest of the hill.
- 7.2 Coming down the hill the trail recommences off to the left and heads back into the forest.
- 8.0 The trail crosses the road and continues on past the Wimbah siding.
- 9.0 The trail meets a bush track where it continues along on the right.
- 9.5 The trail passes a logging track on the right that should be gated.
- 10.9 At this point the track may still be closed due to logging. Head onto the road through the gate and follow the road to the right.
- 14.4 The road comes to Dinmont siding where there are some old steam engines. You should rejoin the new section of trail all the way through to Beech Forest. Otherwise, you will need to follow the much steeper road, which is well signed.
- 17.7 You finish the ride along the concrete path that ends at the pavilion / toilet block in Beech Forest.
17.673 km / 10.982 mi
699 m / 2,294 ft
248 m / 814 ft
535 m / 1,755 ft