The Margaret River Rain Gardens is a small, man-made wetland in the damp shadowy karri/jarrah forest at the entrance to town, located on the main street just before the bridge over the Margaret River (across the road from the petrol station and Bridgefield Manor).
At first glance it looks like a mossy fern and wetland garden planted in and around some ponds and streams amongst the native forest, but what it actually is, is a natural and environmentally friendly stormwater treatment facility.
Stormwater runoff from the town’s drains ends up in the Margaret River. The rain garden was created by the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council in 2008 with the purpose of naturally treating storm water runoff, to reduce the amount of pollution, sediments and nutrients being fed into the Margaret River from the streets of town. The shire is evidently rather proud of this environmental solution, as the rain garden has been fitted out with educational signs and walking trails around the ponds – they’ve really made the most of the “garden” aspect of stormwater treatment!
If takes only five minutes or so to walk around the paths through the rain gardens and it’s worth a quick look if you’re walking by.
How the Margaret River Rain Garden Works
First, litter, leaves and other large items are filtered out. The water then flows down towards the first basin, with sand, gravel and other coarse sediment settling as it does so. The sediment is cleaned out occasionally.
Water in the basins soaks down through free draining soil and woodchips (filter media) which filter out sediments and oils that cling to soil particles. Plants growing in and around the basins take up nutrients out of the water. The water flows down from the first basin to lower basins when water levels are high. After being treated, the filtered water is released into the Margaret River below the rain gardens.
Short Walk Trails Around the Margaret River Rain Gardens
The Margaret River Rain Gardens is a pleasant short stroll along gravel trails around the basins. It only takes a few minutes to walk around them all, but the trails link up to the Margaret River Heritage Trails (which in turn connect the Rails to Trails and the Carters Road trails with the town centre) so you’ll likely end up wandering through on the way somewhere else or on a walk through the forest along the river bank west of town.
Location of the Rain Gardens
The rain gardens are located above the Margaret River next to Bussell Highway right on the edge of town, within the first native bushland forest you reach upon walking downhill from the Visitor Centre (on the western side of the road).
Across the road from the rain gardens are the Bridgefield Manor Guesthouse, the Coles petrol station and mechanic, and Jahroc Galleries.
Directions: Walk north (down hill towards the river and road bridge) along the same side of Bussell Highway as the Visitor Centre is on. At the edge of town after Margarets Forest accommodation, turn left into the bush on the first gravel path you come across. From there, turn right when you see the ponds and information signs. Alternatively cross over the little wooden bridge a short distance further down Bussell Highway, in line with Bridgefield Manor.
Last Updated: 1st September, 2015.
First posted on 1st September, 2015 by Bonny.
Subscribe to Keep In Touch!
Wild Western Australia is an ever-expanding website with new articles and photos published every week. To ensure you remember and keep in touch enter your email address to receive a weekly round-up of new posts on the blog: