About Alberts Farm Conservancy
The Alberts Farm Conservancy more commonly known as Alberts Farm Park, is a 90ha piece of gently sloped land running along side Greymont with it’s entrance on 8th Street. The park lies against Northcliff ridge, the second largest green lung in the city after Delta Park. It is an ecologically significant area, with a high diversity of indigenous grass and shrub species, as well as several dams, a wetland, a marsh and, of course, the spring and stream.
The conservancy provides local residents with a welcome green lung. It is a popular weekend picnic area, and is used every day by dog walkers. There are many cycling routes through it as well.
Two slanted rock formations form the spring – the south-facing shale meets the downward-sloping quartz rock from the north, forming an impenetrable basin in which the water forms. It is then forced, under pressure, to the surface.
A normal spring is formed when underground water, moving through permeable layers, hits an impermeable layer and is forced to the surface.
Bubbling out of the ground in a rocky, mini forest in the middle of the park, it feeds into a soccer field-sized dam. This dam drains from one corner through a marshy area into a lily pond about 100 metres below it.
There are fish in the dam, which is used on weekends by church groups for baptism. Concrete circles have been created in the park for these groups to use.
Alberts Farm, unlike other parks such as Zoo Lake, is deliberately left largely in its natural state, says Alan Buff, the general manager of technical support and training at Johannesburg City Parks.
“We don’t manage all parks like a bowling green, but rather we look at the natural environment to maintain the biodiversity of the park.” This principle also applies to Delta Park.
Buff says that in the 1970s, when Delta Park was being established as a public park, white guinea fowl, ducks and small animals (and several springs) were found in the long grass, which was subsequently left uncut for the wildlife.
Several years ago the City undertook a vegetation survey of Albert’s Farm, done by Wits University. Its recommendations included carefully monitoring the wetland, labelling the trees and cutting down some of the alien trees, controlling dumping, building a bridge over the stream, building raised walkways over the wetland, constructing educational boards, and, once a fence was erected, charging an entrance fee.
The survey points out that Alberts Farm is a catchment area, feeding the Montgomery Spruit, which forms part of the larger river network of the city and should therefore be managed in an eco-friendly way.
We have a stunning trail run route made famous by our parkrun on Saturday. Enjoyed by the parkrun community because it has lots of gradient, it will surely be a fun way to improve your fitness levels.
Come over to Alberts Farm parkrun at 8am on Saturdays and take a jog in nature.
For the more experienced trail runners, Alberts Farm is part of the Hollard Jozi Urban Run Adventure route (JURA) which takes place annually.
Hydrologically very sensitive, Alberts Farm boasts several hillslope seeps as well as a valley bottom channel wetland through which the stream flows. This stream is one of the upper tributories of the Braamfontein Spruit which ultimately joins the Jukskei and flows into the Crocodile/Groot Marico catchment.
The Alberts Farm wetlands are in need of remediation and restoration so Friends of Alberts Farm Conservancy has been working with the most respected urban wetland remediation experts to put a plan in place.
As part of the much loved Braamfontein Spruit cycling trail, Alberts Farm is a firm cycling favourite for Jozi's cycling community.
Also incorporated in the annual Hollard JUMA mountain bike challenge route, more and more cyclists are discovering the beauty of Alberts Farm.