Flat to Vale Trail now open

Published on 18 June 2022

Families, runners, cyclists, walkers and visitors can now use a safe and scenic trail connecting the iconic townships of McLaren Flat and McLaren Vale for the first time.

The 3.6-kilometre Flat to Vale Trail—which runs between Blewitt Springs Road, McLaren Flat, and the McLaren Vale Sports Ground, McLaren Vale—officially opened to the public today.

The majority of the Red Gum-lined trail's length is a 2.5-metre wide sealed path situated between commercial vineyards and Pedler Creek.

It connects to the Coast to Vines Trail, including the Shiraz Trail in McLaren Vale, providing off-road pedestrian and cycle access from McLaren Flat to Willunga, Darlington and Hallett Cove, as well as public transport hubs along those routes.

The extended trail network strengthens Onkaparinga as a premier cycling tourism destination and enhances the wine, food and tourism experience for all users.

The City of Onkaparinga began construction on the trail in October 2021 following years of community advocacy, and the project received $1.5 million of Australian Government funding through its Community Development Grants Program, advocated for by Rebekha Sharkie MP, Federal Member for Mayo.

Onkaparinga's Acting Mayor Simon McMahon paid tribute to the community and the landowners whose properties the trail traverses, as he encouraged locals and visitors alike to hit the trail.

"The opening of the Flat to Vale Trail is such a fantastic outcome because before this there really wasn't a safe off-road link for pedestrians and cyclists between these two historic towns," he said.

"Now anyone can walk the dogs or jump on a bike with family and friends to keep active and healthy, or explore the best the Flat and Vale have to offer, including their cafés, bakeries and world-class wineries.

"The trail was a true collaborative effort, and wouldn't have come about if it wasn't for the passion and drive from the Flat to Vale Trail Community Group, and the landowners for their enthusiasm, patience, knowledge and willingness to work with us.

"We're also grateful to the Australian Government and Rebekha Sharkie for the funding to help make the trail a reality, and to local residents for overwhelmingly supporting the vision."

Chairperson of the Flat to Vale Trail Community Group Cherise Vallet said the Flat to the Vale trail would be a bonus to the local community, creating a safe and beautiful pathway between the two towns.

"Our Flat to the Vale Trail community worked hard from 2016 onwards creating ideas for alignment, advocating for it with landholders along the alignment, getting the community involved, presenting deputations at Council meetings, meeting individually with many of the ward councillors, and more," she said.

"It has been a committed effort, and the people we worked with at council have been fantastic and so supportive.

"We're all completely thrilled the trail is now a reality—it feels amazing that we’ve been behind this initiative and seen it come to fruition!"

Rebekha Sharkie MP said it was time to get on your bike in Onkaparinga.

“The Flat to Vale Trail is a great example of how advocates, landowners, the council and the federal government can come together to deliver a really special project for the entire community," she said.

“But its benefits aren’t just social or health related. By linking to the Coast to Vines Rail Trail in the heart of McLaren Vale, this pathway improves the local network of trails and will help bring more visitors to the world-class wine region.

“It’s always so rewarding as an independent community MP to see a project with federal funding go from conception to development to delivery.”

The Flat to Vale Trail consists of a 2.5km sealed shared-use ‘off road’ trail between the McLaren Vale Sports Complex and Chalk Hill Rd/Foggo Rd intersection; and a 1.1km sealed shared-use ‘on road’ trail along Chalk Hill Rd (no through road) from Foggo Rd to Blewitt Springs Rd (McLaren Flat).

The trail was designed with environmental management front of mind due to the sensitive riverine environment and large river gum trees, while minimising the impact to adjacent vineyard operations and ensuring pedestrian and cyclist safety.