The Corn Trail was an early bridle track linking the Southern Tablelands to the coastal valley of the Buckenbowra River, in New South Wales, Australia. It was restored and reopened as a walking track in 1988.
The Corn Trail lies on the traditional lands of the Walbanga people, a group of the Yuin. It is almost certain that the route of what would later be known as the Corn Trail generally follows foot pathways used by the local people.
The lower reaches of the Buckenbowra River lie in a lush coastal river valley that connects to the Clyde River close to Batemens Bay. The valley was colonised in the 1830s. At the time, the new settlements on the Southern Tablelands had no direct connection to a coastal port and needed to use the long road to Sydney to obtain supplies and ship produce. The Buckenbowra valley provided an easy route from the coast to the base of the Clyde Mountain. The Corn Trail was built to ascend the range to reach the Southern Tablelands. To maintain suitable gradients, the trail zigzagged across the face of the steeply sloping landforms. The trail was constructed using convicts assigned to local landowners. It was in use by 1838.
The trail was only suitable for pack animals—it was too steep for wheeled traffic of any kind—but nonetheless was an important route to the tablelands. From the Buckenbowra valley, other trails over low foothills connected the Corn Trail to coastal settlements at Broulee and Moruya. The Corn Trail was part of a mail route between Broulee and Braidwood from early 1840.
From late 1841, a road known as the “The Wool Road” linked the tablelands to the coast at Jervis Bay, but was ultimately a failure. The Corn Trail remained in use during the early years of the gold rush to the area round Braidwood, but quickly fell into disuse following the opening, in 1858, of the Clyde Road—later the Kings Highway—that connected the tablelands to the port of Nelligen on the Clyde River
The Corn Trail was used by the Clarke Brothers and the others of their gang of bushrangers, during the 1860s, when—as outlaws—they used lesser known routes to move around the district without detection. By the 1920s, the trail had become completely overgrown and effectively lost.
Long forgotten and overgrown, it was restored, as a project for the Australian Bicentennial celebrations, and reopened, as a walking track, on 30 April 1988.