The ride to Nannup uses the Sidings Rail Trail which meanders through State forest and Conservation Park for most of the way. It is marked with both the Munda Biddi Trail and the Sidings Rail Trail markers. It is also a dual-use trail so be prepared to encounter walkers enroute.
Following a section of old rail formation, you will find this a pleasant ride through jarrah and marri forest, passing several old timber railway bridges, cuttings and railway sidings. After Baker Road, a restored railway bridge takes you across St John Brook, which flows towards the Blackwood River. At Cambray Siding you may spot evidence of where trains were once loaded and the wood-fired steam engines were replenished with water from nearby pools. You can still see original sleepers and track in the ground.
Heading off again, you have the choice of taking the Old Timberline Trail, a slightly longer trail that follows along St John Brook. Or you can stay on the Sidings Rail Trail and explore the remains of Dellerton and Bibilup Sidings along the way.
After crossing Vasse Highway several times you will arrive at the 115 metre-long Blackwood River Rail Bridge; at the south-east end flood-level markers can be seen on a large tree next to the river. This signals your approach to the delightful town of Nannup. Nestled in the heart of the Blackwood River valley, Nannup is a beautiful little town with a sense of history and a strong link to the surrounding countryside. Now known as the Garden Village, its beautiful private and public gardens are a great way to experience the wildflowers, and in August the town is ablaze with colour from blooming tulips and daffodils.
From Nannup, the Trail takes you a further 37km to the half-way point of the Munda Biddi; the historic mill town of Donnelly River Villiage. This Mill is special because when it closed down the mill machinery was considered too old to take to other mills so it was left behind. The Donnelly River site was first used as a timber mill by the Wheatley family in 1912 to cut cross arms and telegraph poles, but it closed after two years. For nearly 30 years from 1947 Bunnings operated another mill in Donnelly River. When the Mill closed in 1978, Bunnings donated the land and the mill to the Crown, "for so long as they remained for public benefit." The usual practice when timber mills closed down was to reassemble the equipment at new sites. However, when Donnelly River Mill closed, the mill equipment was out of date, with the transition from steam to power from the State electrical grid. So most of the equipment remained in situ following the mill's closure. The Yornup Donnelly Mill line was the last private timber railway to operate in WA. The rails were lifted in 1970, and the Mill closed in 1978. In the early 1980's Donnelly mill cottages commenced its new life as a holiday destination. The mill and town was heritage listed in 2006. Unfortunately the Mill itself is not in good condition and is too dangerous to explore.
The ride from Donnelly Mill to One Tree Bridge has a couple of kilometres on gravel roads, but then follows the river. This section is a bit hilly and challenging but great fun and the scenery is beautiful. The One Tree Bridge Conservation Park is mainly regrowth karri forest, but about 500 m from One Tree Bridge, four massive, old-growth karri trees were left standing. They are called the Four Aces, and are 75 metres tall and over 400 years old. They can be accessed by a marked path at the back of the One Tree Bridge area. Under the bridge is a walkway to allow access to the other side of the road. There is a walk trail, info hut, picnic area, toilets and Glenoran Pool, a popular swimming pool.
The ascent to the Karta Burnu hut is challenging yet the hut itself is a huge reward. The view from it is spectacular - it overlooks the valley, and the hut looks like a Swiss chalet perched on a hillside. There is some beautiful form between Karta Burnu hut and Deanmill - flat solid trail, under big karri trees with streams nearby - perfect riding. The 6 km of old form from Deanmill into Manjimup was built in 1912. It was closed in 1966, and in was dismantled in the 1980's, leaving just the reserve. It is a firm, flat, fast ride into Manjimup as a result.
Follow My Ride offers a detailed description of this section of the Trail that will give you a good idea of what parts of the Trail are like.
For more information on cycling from Jarrahwood to Manjimup, go to the Section by Section Guide.