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  • Laurie Railton


Laurie Railton is a member of The Thursday Hiking Group of Magoebaskloof which has been going for over 40 years, initially led by Secundo Rech, then Jay Branson and currently Jan Starinck. The leader suggests the walk route each week but is open to suggestions. Popular hikes amongst the 14 members include the Woodbush Forest Reserve; Iron Crown and Serala mountain peaks; Mahlapetse Valley; Wonderwoud forest in the Wolkberg Wilderness Reserve; Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve as well as the Rheeboksvlei & Strydpoort mountain areas. These diverse terrains all have interesting flora and unique features and it is always enjoyable hiking with the group who are knowledgeable about subjects from history, botany and dendrology to photography.

Many different trails wind their way through the Woodbush Forest and up mountain peaks with names like Pypkop, Schnellskop and Braun's Knob (Lunsklip). Laurie’s favourite walk with the Thursday Hiking group is one they call ‘Cobra Corner’ which got its name after one of the regulars, Sally Branson spotted a cobra in the oak leaves near the beginning of the trail which is located in the upper reaches of the Broederstroom river valley.

Laurie explains that to get to the start point of this 3.5 km circular trail, you would travel along the gravel road that leads upstream from the top end of the Dap Naude Dam to the point where a tar road leads off to the right, going up to the top of Pypkop, otherwise known as World’s View. Having parked at the bottom of the Pypkop road, you will follow the Cobra Corner trail that leads off down towards the river, as shown on the map. The trail crosses the Broederstroom river and enters into an incredibly atmospheric patch of forest with burbling brooks and trees festooned with lush green moss.

As you follow the trail, you will need to cast your eyes down towards the river to see the majestic yellowwood trees below as well as Ochnas with their mottled, icy cold bark; Prunus africana; Combretum krausii and other specials. One of the bridges is in bad shape but the river crossing can be done with a bit of rock-jumping further upstream. When the trail reaches a point where it reaches a pine forest on the right, you can take the trail on the left down towards the river and cross over a concrete bridge. A left turn when you reach the road, takes you back to where you parked your vehicles. As you walk up the road, you will see a forest of oak trees between the road and the river which were planted more than 100 years ago by Sir Lionel Phillips, who used to own much of the land in this area.

The Thursday Club always requests permission to walk on the planned trail from Paul Mostert, who is the forester in charge of the Komatiland Woodbush Forest. He can be contacted on 083 632 8386 between 08h00 and 08h30.

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