Without a doubt one of the forest sections that best survived the 2008 to 2011 drought in the Garden Route had to be the section in Millwood, making the two options of the Woodcutter Trail a perfect choice for family forest hikes.
Starting at the renowned Dalene Mathee Memorial plaque, the walk sets out from beneath a towering Outeniqua Yellowood Tree. While not the largest of the big trees, it does rank as one of the tallest and at 880 years old, probably the oldest Outeniqua Yellowood in the Garden Route.
Heading east on a service road for both the 3km and 9km loops you turn right onto a single track and are instantly immersed into towering closed canopy high moist Afromontane Forest.
Walking down a gradual gradient to a forest drainage line lined with towering tree ferns and moss shrouded trees.
At the 2km mark the trails split with the 3km loop continuing on a contour line to finish as a clockwise loop at a picnic site adjacent to the parking lot at the start. From the split the 9km loop continues up the slope for a ridge walk before descending to the Forest Creek with two idyllic swimming spots. Leaving the river there is a steep climb up to a forestry road which takes you back to the start.
Five highlights to look for on the Woodcutter Trail:
- Bushpig territorial markings on trees.
- Leopard Scat.
- Elephant droppings on the last section of the 9km loop.
- Glade of tree ferns.
- Various fungii in humid conditions
Five trees to look for :
- Outeniqua Yellowood - Podocarpus falcatus
- Real Yellowood - Podocarpus latifolius
- Stinkwood - Ocotea bullata
- Assegai - Curtisia dentata
- Cape Beech - Rapanea melanophloeos
- Cost : R480.00/person exclusive of conservation fee, base rate of R960.00.
- Proximity : west of Knysna
- Booking essential
- Equipment required : Daypack, camera, binoculars, weatherproof.