Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve
Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 98 hectare gentle ridge bordering Black Mountain and O’Connor Ridge nature reserves. It is part of a generally wooded, rolling hills landscape which provides a natural bushland setting for suburbs in central and northern Canberra.
Canberra Nature Park is valued and managed for its conservation values and recreational opportunities. A variety of activities are permitted on Bruce Ridge including walking, trail running, mountain biking, orienteering, walking the dog and nature appreciation. It is the only reserve in Canberra Nature Park that provides bike riders, walkers and runners with a network of shared single tracks.
You are likely to encounter all these park users when you visit the reserve, so please become familiar with the trail etiquette.
The eucalypt bushland features views of north Canberra and endangered Yellow Box—Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland on the lower slopes. The area is also home to a diverse range of plants, including orchids, as well as number of threatened bird species.
Bruce Ridge and the surrounding area have many registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, an indication of the area's importance to the Ngunnawal people. Please respect the cultural landscape and leave it as you found it.
Bruce Ridge has numerous management tracks and a paved cycle path is located along the edge of the reserve. In 2011 a series of multi-use trails were established on Bruce Ridge, which are very popular for mountain bike riding.
- Dogs are allowed on leash
- Walking trails
- Mountain biking (only permitted on formed vehicle trails, sealed cycle paths, multi-use trails and the marked Centenary Trail)
When visiting Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, please remember the following:
- No motorised vehicles of any kind or remote control devices are permitted.
- No fires are permitted within the reserve.
- No camping is permitted within the reserve.
- There are no bins. Please take all rubbish away with you.
- All native plants, animals, timber (alive and dead) and the environment are protected by law.
- Venomous snakes inhabit this reserve. Do not place hands in hollows or move logs and rocks. Be mindful of the path ahead as open areas provide the sunlight that reptiles love.
- Carry a mobile phone, especially if you are on your own.
- Slow down at intersections where you are likely to meet other trail users.
- Ride mountain bikes at a controlled speed, especially approaching blind corners where you may encounter other trail users.
- Announce your presence to other users by calling out or ringing a bell well in advance.
- Minimise your impact by staying on the built trail network.
- Avoid riding in wet, muddy conditions. Ride through puddles that extend across the track rather than widening the trail by going around them.
- Do not take shortcuts or form new trails as you will disturb the soil, cause erosion or destroy sensitive flora.
- Mountain bike riders must give way to other users.
There are no bins. Please take all rubbish away with you.
No fires are permitted within the reserve.
Land Use History
The ACT has a long and rich Aboriginal history, extending from the present day back at least 25,000 years. Over this time, generations of Aboriginal people have cared for Country, and have been sustained, physically and spiritually, through their relationship with the land. Traditional Custodians have also actively managed the landscape for thousands of years, through activities such ‘fire stick farming’ and selectively cultivating certain plants, which created the landscapes first seen by European explorers and settlers.
Land in the Belconnen area was first taken up by European settlers in the early nineteenth century, and until the urban expansion of Canberra in the 1970s, the land was mostly used for grazing stock. Bruce was one of the latest suburbs of Belconnen to be developed, and land that now forms the reserve was set aside in 1993. The reserve is crossed by numerous walking tracks and trails, and also by Gungahlin Drive, the construction of which in 2007 claimed approximately 14 hectares of land from the reserve.
Cultural heritage values
The reserve protects a number of known Aboriginal heritage sites, being the physical (archaeological) traces of the rich Aboriginal history of the area. Stone artefacts are found in the reserve, occurring individually and in small scatters on the surface, and it is likely that many as yet unrecorded sites also occur. These sites are of cultural significance to Traditional Custodians, linking generations of Aboriginal people over time, and they are also of archaeological significance as an important source of information on the history of the reserve and the ACT region.
All Aboriginal places and objects in the ACT are protected under the Heritage Act 2004 and must not be disturbed. Anyone finding an (unregistered) Aboriginal object or place has an obligation to report it to the Heritage Council.
Vegetation communities and associations
The majority of Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve is Stringybark (Eucalyptus macroryncha) and Scribbly Gum (E. rossii) forest, with a shrubby understorey, coarse woody litter and scattered small plants in the ground layer. A small part of the reserve is woodland, including some endangered Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland.
Plants – Land of diversity
Most of Bruce Ridge is a part of the dry forest vegetation complex found on metasediments in the Black Mountain area, which has high plant diversity and a notable orchid flora. Species rare in the ACT include Black Mountain Leopard Orchid (Diuris nigromontana) and Rufous Midge Orchid (Corunastylis clivicola).
Animals – Home to many
The reserve provides important habitat for threatened and declining woodland birds including the Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus), Little Eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides), Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii), Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera). The regionally declining Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata) breeds in the reserve.
The Friends of Bruce Ridge ParkCare group and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service have regular work parties to maintain and improve tracks, maintain and restore the park's biodiversity and engage in public education. For further information visit the ParkCare page.
Bruce Ridge is accessible off Belconnen Way on the south, Dryandra Street on the east and from the underpasses off Purdie Street to the north west.
Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
About Canberra Nature Park
Canberra Nature Park is made up of 37 nature reserves ranging from bushland hills to some of the best examples of lowland native grassland and endangered ecological community of Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland left in Australia. The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is responsible for managing Canberra Nature Park. For more information visit the Canberra Nature Park webpage.
The management of Canberra Nature Park is greatly assisted by a group of volunteers called ParkCare. ParkCare volunteers undertake a variety of activities including seed collection, plant propagation, tree planting, weed removal, erosion control, vegetation mapping and recording, water quality monitoring, raising community awareness and the maintenance and restoration of heritage places.
For more information visit ParkCare
Caring for Ngunnawal Country
The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region, and their continuing sense of responsibility to preserve the spirit and stories of their ancestors throughout the landscape. Cultural values ;are also living and current, as much as an appreciation of the past. For more information visit Caring for Ngunnawal Country.
Canberra Nature Map
Report rare and endangered plant sightings via the Canberra Nature Map.
For more information on heritage tracks, visit Canberra Tracks which is a network of heritage signage that incorporates six self-drive routes leading to many of Canberra’s historic sites.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service conducts prescribed burns throughout Canberra Nature Park.
More information and feedback
For more information or to provide feedback, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or complete an online feedback form.