Linksfield Ridge

Gilloolys Farm, Linksfield Ridge, Harvey Park

Dassie Trail


 

Linksfield Ridge is a series of beautiful koppies that offers a bush walk without leaving Johannesburg

Running in an East – West line around 4km long, Linksfield Ridge has spectacular views north towards the Magalisberg and Pretoria, as well as to the South. It is the ridge line one sees on the right hand side driving from Johannesburg airport towards Joburg CBD.

The Ridge is Orange Grove Quartzite and the vegetation is the central variation of Brakenveld with some sheltered spots containing Southern Bushveld shrubs. One can enjoy the contrast between the North facing slopes, with their higher density of trees & shrubs, and the south facing slopes with its grasslands, aloes & Proteas. The summer months produce some lovely orchids, Ledabourias and other wild flowers that thrive after the frequent winter veld fires.

The western section of the ridge is a nature reserve donated to the city in 1960 by Sydney Harvey when he died aged 92. It still bears his name although there is no boundary between it and the rest of the ridge so do not be confused by the different names on maps.

         
 

Gillooly's Farm is a pleasant park that belongs to the Ekurhuleni Municipality. It is an ideal place to sit and relax after your walk, have a picnic or braai.

 
 
         
 
 

Mrs Sippi Blue is the name of the popular restaurant situated on the shore of the lake. Tarry a while and let the children feed the ducks.

 
         
 

For those that want an easy walk, a stroll around the lake is a pleasant exercise. Another option is a walk along the Jukskei River towards Bruma.

 
 
         
 
 

The Trail

There are 3 access points;

Gillooly’s farm on the eastern end (recommended)

Pulford Lane near St Andrew’s on the northern side

Beryl Street in Cyrildene on the Southern side

There is a well marked trail that runs along the crest of the ridge and a couple of less obvious paths that run further to the North and South.

The ascent of the ridge from Gillooly's Farm is steep and can be quite strenuous.

 

 
         

Article that appeared in 'The Star' newspaper 15 October 1959 (About Harvey Nature Reserve)

Seven-acre gift to Johannesburg city for nature reserve

High up on the Linksfield Ridge, with panoramic views of Johannesburg all around, city dwellers will soon be able to enjoy the peace, spaciousness and freedom of seven acres given over to nature.

A Johannesburg citizen has given the city council seven acres on the ridge and £1,000 to help develop them so that the small buck and guinea fowl occasionally seen there will have a permanent undisturbed home.

"The conditions of this outstanding gift are that we should create a nature reserve and bird sanctuary on one of Johannesburg's loveliest koppies" said Mr. B. D Eager, chairman of the Public Amenities Committee today.

"The Parks Department is spending £300 on paths, a small waterfall and a water garden to attract birds. There are fine Aloes in the area and the donor is most anxious that they should be preserved"

Amenities Budget

"This is the kind of gift that is still fairly rare in Johannesburg and one which will mean a great deal in years to come," said Mr. Eager.

He added that the Public Amenities Committee hoped that next year's budget would be a "public amenities" budget for Johannesburg.

"At present we have about £100,000 a year to spend on all our open spaces, much of which remain ondeveloped because of lack of funds" he said. "We could do with £250,000 in the next budget- and even that would help us only to catch up with the backlog."

 

 

 

Along the ridge some late iron age Tswana sites have been excavated but are not marked. Other interesting previous users include Ghandi who recorded walking and meditating on the Ridge regularly.

 
 
         
 
 

Currently the ridge is often used by church groups but the activity is almost all nocturnal.

 

 

 
         

Article that appeared in 'The Star' Newspaper 20th January 1982

Admire the view, listen to the birds and savour the scents, says Sue Leeman up on the ridge

A small stretch of virgin veld remains untouched among the luxurious homes on Linksfield Ridge. This natural gem - known as Harvey Nature Reserve - was a gift to Johannesburg from two of the city's pioneers, Mr. and Mrs. S.F. Harvey.

The ardent conservationist or casual stroller, looking north, will discover he has a sweeping view of the hazy Magaliesburg hills. At his feet, a tangle of natural vegetation spills out beyond the rocky outcrops of quartzite and shale.

Bright-eyed dassies, mongooses and shrews make this small natural haven their home, and a wide variety of birds feeds here in peace. Indigenous trees thrust their craggy branches to the sky, filling the air with the scent of their blooms. They bear such delightful names as Velvet Bushwillow, Lemon Scented Knob-thorn and Wild Pear.

Vivid flowers march down the slopes; aloes and proteas and the creamy trumpets of Rothmania capensis grow with all their natural enthusiasm. The white, star-shaped flowers of the Wild Apricot peep out from between the leaves, spreading their jasmine scent.

Mysterious circles of stones have archeologists a little baffled, but are thought to be connected with the Iron Age sites discovered at Gillooly's Farm. Stone Age Man has also left his mark on the ridge - the debris of his stone tool and weapon manufacture has been found in the gravel deposits here.

Following the Dassie Trail through the reserve is a small adventure, a reminder of the days when animals roamed these parts and living was free.

 

Security

In common with other urban parks and recreational areas, there is always possibility of security problems. As long as you walk in a group there should be no problems. My advice is that hikers using Linksfield Ridge area should walk in groups of a minimum of four adults which should include at least one adult male. All valuables should be left at home and the walks should only take place during daylight hours. Johannesburg City Parks and Ekurhuleni Parks do their best to ensure the safety of walkers but the onus must at all times be on the hiker to ensure his or her own safety. Walking with dogs is a good idea.

Contacts

Johannesburg City Parks

Under whose jurisdiction most of the trail falls

Event management

+27 (0) 11 712 6664

Dee Daniel (phone office hours) + 27(0) 11 712 6604 Fax +27 (0) 11 712 6764

For Gilloolys Farm

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

Department Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (Metro Parks)

 Leonie Snyman Tel. 456-0262 Fax. 452-4891

 

                          For further information about the Harvey Nature Reserve and Linksfield Ridge

Contact Tara Baum

011 616 4841


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