On our recent trip to the Cape …
What a fabulous day we had!!!!
” Bouchard Finlayson Wine Estate, established in 1989 covers 125 hectares, of which some 20ha on the lower fertile soils are under cultivation with the remaing 100ha, largely on the low-nutrient soils of the Table Mountain Group, dedicated to environmental conservation” quote from map of trails through the vineyard
Hubby and I chose to do the Red Route – 2 1/2 hours covering approx. 7km. It was well marked and each marker coincided with an information paragraph on the underside of the map. All very interesting. They do have guided walks for a one on one walk or small groups with a fynbos fundi, Frank Woodvine. Would love to do that sometime …. booking is essential. It was a cloudy cool day .. looked like rain, but perfect for walking
Pic below … trail goes alongside the vines, turn left at the end, down to the valley, through the valley and then upwards to the top of the ridge (under clouds!) By the time we got to the top the clouds had cleared
Looking back from where we started
” old mature fynbos which was last burned 18 years ago which needs a fire to rejuvenate the eco system. Constant effort is needed to keep the land free of invasive alien woody species such as wattle, pines, myrtle and eucalyptus (blue gum) which spread from the neighbouring property ” …
We didn’t realise that the Wines2Whales mountain bike race was in progress and in its last stage – part of which was through Bouchard Finlayson …
The race is a course of 3 days covering approx. 230km of the Cape Winelands, starting in Somerset West and ” traverses 13 wineries, 26 private farms, 6 mountains, some beautiful historic roads and passes, as well as exquisite nature conservation areas” … ending in Hermanus
We came across many, many cyclists on our walk, or should I say many, many cyclists came across us !!!!
Above photo: On the left of cyclists crossing the small wooden bridge is an area cleared of alien wattles as part of a Working for Water initiative. The branch wood is being chipped for turning into compost and also for mulching in the vineyards
Below: New vines being planted on open land which has been prime habitat for a pair of Blue Cranes, our national bird. The pair successfully raised their typically single chick of the last few years …
The trail goes down to Galpin Stream where the vegetation is typical of dense riverine bush …
The trail began to rise, still following the stream which flows strongly in winter months (the Cape has a Mediterranean climate) ..
Crossing the wooden foot bridge one sees a few Palmiet plants, Prionium serratum, which plays a vital role in reducing the force of water flow after heavy rains, so reducing the risk of soil erosion. Long long ago, the long narrow leaves were used by slaves in Cape town for weaving their hats
Rising further upwards and around the corner between the rocky ridges we came across a weir .. “the impounded water is used to irrigate the vineyards.” There is also a notice inviting walkers to ‘enjoy a paddle’
From this spot, looking up to the summit of the ridge is a framework of poles which forms part of a cableway built to carry cement and stone to construct the weir (we didn’t realise the trail changed to a steep incline after this to reach those poles!)
Still quite a way to go to those poles!! Tiny dots of people – centre of pic – is a group from the Botanical Society who were walking with Frank, the fynbos fundi. They were walking in the opposite direction …
Looking back down to the valley and vineyards …
There go the Botanical Society 🙂 We chatted with them when our paths crossed again. Great excitement!! Frank, the fynbos fundi, had recently discovered a new species of fynbos on the property and they were so excited to be privileged to be shown it. Quite a find!! Imagine scouring every inch of ground searching for new plants, especially fynbos which is usually short and fine like heather
A well wooded kloof – (steep-sided ravine or valley) – “supports the only patch of Afro-Montane forest on the estate. A series of tumbling waterfalls give rise to pools surrounded by some fine specimens of trees ie Rooiels, Cape Beech, Cape Holly and Hard-pear. Consideration is being given to extending the trail to the foot of the kloof” .. that would be lovely !
Nearly at the top ..
We made it !!
Part two next … walking the ridge, back down again, cyclists pass us one by one and back through the vineyards