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Stockade Rail Trail

South Aust. metro

Location: Pooraka, 11km north of Adelaide
Length: 2.6 km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Start / End: Main North Road, Pooraka to Dry Creek Trail, Walkley Heights
Public Transport: Train
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • WalkingWalking

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
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The trail is a pleasant path along a linear park on and adjacent to the old rail reserve. It has easy grades and is ideal for children and novice riders. The Dry Creek section is rougher with some steep slopes.

Unity Park features numerous paths, wetlands, parking, picnic facilities and toilets.

Stockade Botanic Park features gardens, barbecues, picnic areas and toilets.

View the historic quarry and prison nearby.

Nearby Adelaide Super-Drome is the headquarters for the Australian Institute of Sport’s Track Cycling Program.

Nearby Attractions

  • Quarry and prison history
  • Parklands with wetlands
  • Access to Dry Creek Trail and The Levels – City Bikeway
  • Nearby Adelaide Super-Drome

Last updated: 28 April 2024

The Stockade Rail Trail features a gravel surface of good width, ranging from smooth fine gravel through Unity Park to some rougher gravel sections along Dry Creek.

The Levels – City Bikeway crosses the trail at the western edge of Unity Park giving access to/from the city via quiet back streets and the Torrens Linear Park Shared Use Path.

Dry Creek Trail is an off-road trail which follows Dry Creek from the Barker Wetlands, through Mawson Lakes and continues to Wynn Vale Lake. Part of Stockade Rail Trail uses the Dry Creek Trail.

Food outlets located within the Gepps Cross Homemaker Centre opposite the trail start, and to the north in Pooraka.

Bridgeway Hotel on Bridge Road near crossing point.

Toilets and picnic facilities in Unity Park and Stockade Botanic Park.

 

Section Guides

Main North Road to Bridge/Briens Road (1.5km)

The trail starts on the eastern side of Main North Rd. The railway reserve is still clearly visible, flanked by rows of tall gums. Some rail remnants are still visible adjacent to the path. Pooraka station was located on the western side of Main North Rd. There is a pleasant park with ‘Winds of Change’ sculptures immediately north of the trail start.

Head east along the trail, bypassing the vehicle control gates if closed. Cross The Levels – City Bikeway as you enter Unity Park where there are a number of path options allowing exploration of Unity Park. Toilets and facilities are located close to South Terrace.

Northfield station was located on what is now the Cross Keys BMX Club and Pooraka Skate Park.

 

Bridge/Briens Road to Stockade (1.1km)

Cross Bridge/Briens Rd at the traffic lights.

The original Northfield / Stockade station was on the eastern side of Briens Rd. The site is now a works depot for the Department of Infrastructure and Transport which prevents access to the old rail reserve.

Turn left onto the eastern Briens Rd footpath and proceed 200m north to access the Dry Creek Trail. Take care on the first part of this trail with a steep descent and climb on a loose surface.

On the eastern side of the works depot the trail rejoins the old rail reserve and there are several paths to choose from. The lower path with dark gravel is the old rail alignment.

Alternate Route – Turn right onto the eastern Briens Rd footpath and proceed 100m south to Howard Road. Follow Howard Rd uphill and enter Stockade Botanical Park. Turn into the car park and access the path near the toilet block. The park area is accessed by turning right onto the shared use path. To rejoin the rail reserve, turn left and proceed east onto a gravel path which drops steeply to join the Dry Creek Trail. The steep section is best traversed with caution.

Records are vague as to how far the railway continued but it is believed it ended somewhere near the first quarry where there is an unusual steel walkway. This is Yatala Guard Tower 1 from which prison guards supervised prisoners working in the quarry. There are a number of historical sites nearby and Yatala Prison sits atop the hill to the southeast.

 

Side Trails

Dry Creek Trail

The Dry Creek Trail is a 21.4km trail which follows Dry Creek from the Tapa Martinthi Trail in the west to Wynn Vale Dam in the east. Mostly gentle grades make it an easy ride for most abilities.

Levels to City Bikeway

The Levels to City Bikeway extends from Mawson Lakes to the City, however the Mawson Lakes to Pooraka section uses busy roads and is not recommended. The Pooraka to City section is all sealed and uses a combination of quiet back streets and sealed shared use paths.

Do you know of a bike hire or transportation service on this rail trail that should appear here? If so, let us know at admin@railtrails.org.au.

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Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is constructed.

Development and Future of the Rail Trail

Whilst informal trails have existed within the railway reserve for decades, it is only since the line closure and removal of the tracks that the opportunity has existed for the establishment of an attractive park and rail trail.

Rail Line History

The Northfield railway line (formerly Stockade railway line) was a railway in northern Adelaide running between Dry Creek station and Northfield. The line branched east from the Gawler railway line just north of Dry Creek station. The Stockade line (originally terminating at Stockade railway station) was opened on 1 June 1857 at the same time as the Adelaide-Smithfield section of what is now the Gawler line, making it one of South Australia’s oldest rail lines. It was built to carry stone from the quarries behind Yatala Labour Prison. There was one, possibly two, turntables in the vicinity of Stockade station. Originally intended only for freight, the line also later catered for passenger traffic.

The terminus station Stockade was closed in 1961. The turntable was removed and the terminus was relocated to the western side of Briens Rd and renamed as Northfield. Northfield station consisted of a single platform and shelter on the western side of Briens Rd.

The last passenger trains to Northfield ran in 1987. Livestock continued to be delivered by rail to the Gepps Cross Abattoirs and Livestock Markets sale-yards until 1995. The stations were subsequently demolished and the track was lifted. In 2019, overgrown remains of Cavan railway station, Pooraka railway station and the rail corridor between Cavan and Pooraka, were all that remained of the line.

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