While the firetrail along Linden Ridge in the Blue Mountains is not the most exciting walk, it’s a pleasant bushwalk along an undulating ridge, which passes a number of Aboriginal heritage sites. The large of number of axe grinding groove and stone arrangement sites suggests that this may have been an Aboriginal trade route: Linden Ridge provides a direct northerly route from the central Blue Mountains to the middle Grose River near the junction with Wentworth Creek.
To reach the start of the firetrail requires a road-walk from a locked gate at the end of Glossop Road, near the old Linden Observatory – which has an interesting history! Now on the NSW State Heritage Register, the observatory was established in the 1940s by amateur telescope maker Ken Beames. From the late 1930s to the mid-1960s (when 24-inch and 40-inch telescopes were constructed and installed at Siding Spring Observatory) the Linden Observatory had the largest and most technologically advanced telescope in NSW. The road goes to a water reservoir, and the Glossop trig station, where another locked gate marks the start of the Linden Ridge Trail.
Although there’s not many lookouts along the ridge, near the start of the Linden Ridge Firetrail there’s a nice view out to the west.
One of at least eight axe grinding groove sites is just above the trail, with three very deep and distinct grooves.
An enormous rock platform on both sides of the firetrail has some grinding grooves and what may be stone arrangements. It offers some more views; to the east you can see as far as the Cumberland Plain.
Another rock platform – you could spend days exploring the acres of rock along the ridge – has scattered stones.
An Aboriginal rock engraving site has numerous fish, echidnas and an unusual set of concentric circles.
In some of the gullies along the Linden Ridge are shelters which contain Aboriginal art – one of these has a number of interesting charcoal figures, and the name “L Barnett 1959” written on the wall. I can’t find any references to an L Barnett, but have been told he may have visited the shelter with archaeologist and anthropologist Fred McCarthy in the 1950s.
Another gully contains Strattons Cave, after the name (A J Stratton) inscribed on the rock. The Stratton family were early residents of the Springwood area, and James, a butcher, acquired land at Faulconbridge in 1869. While the charcoal art in the previous cave looked somewhat recent, the many hand stencils in this shelter are quite faded.
I continue a bit further along the firetrail, before retracing my steps… I’m fortunate that the rain has held off, and that it’s been fairly overcast all day. The firetrail along Linden Ridge is quite exposed, so it’s a good bushwalk in winter or a cool day. It would also make a good mountain biking trail (but stay on the road to avoid damaging the rock platforms!)
Getting to Linden Ridge Firetrail
The walk starts at the locked gate along Glossop Road (which is 5.5km from Linden railway station); the sealed road continues another 1.3km to a large water reservoir. The signposted Linden Ridge Firetrail starts here.