Maslin Reserve is 49 hectares of locally important bush in a landscape mostly cleared for farming and housing, just a short drive from the centre of Bridgetown.
The reserve was created in 1923 as “timber for settlers”. Timber was taken and so was gravel, leaving the Reserve extensively damaged and pockmarked.
Around 1960, all remaining Jarrah was cut down and sawn at a mill on Peninsula Road in Bridgetown. Mature Marris were left and are now the only tall trees. Later, plans to clear the Reserve for an airstrip were abandoned when it was found to be too short.
Local residents came to love the Reserve and its wildflowers. A petition for its protection was circulated and the “Friends of the Forest” spearheaded a campaign that culminated in 1993 with the Reserve being vested with the Shire for “Parkland and Recreation” and to be “left in its natural state”.
Despite the damage, the Reserve retains a shrub layer of Banksia and Balga and an understorey in good condition. A Blackwood Environment Society survey documented over 160 plants. Understorey plants include trigger plants, orchids, peas, wattles, native buttercups and small perennial herbs, native grasses and sedges.
Wildflowers are a delight in the spring, especially if some of the ten or more species of orchid can be found. These include Greenhoods, Bunny Orchids, Cowslips, Pink Fairy, Donkey and Spider Orchids and Sun Orchids.
Many animal species can also be found throughout the Reserve: Baudin’s Cockatoo, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Masked Owl are some of the bird species to be found. Brush-tailed Possums, Chudditch, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Quenda and Brush-tailed Wallaby make up some of the local mammals, and some of the reptile species include the Dugite, King’s Skink, Bobtail and the Black-tailed Monitor.