Stepping back in time

Historic All Saints church in the Swan Valley.

WILLIAM YEOMAN delights in the food, wine and history of one of the State’s oldest European settlements.

The Swan Valley. Where do you start? Maybe with the wineries, breweries and associated restaurants, for which it’s renowned — and for which winter provides a perfect opportunity to sample fine wines and fine food in a more mellow mood.

Whether you’re after a chardonnay or a shiraz, a petit verdot or a pedro ximenes, you’ll find it in wineries such as Lamont’s, Mandoon Estate, Houghton Wines and Sandalford Wines. But there are some great breweries too, including Feral Brewing Company, Ironbark Brewery and Mash Brewing Co.

Wine tours are available from operators like d’Vine, but it’s easy enough to put together a self-guided tour using resources such as the excellent website, which tells you just about everything you need to know about the region.

It includes quite a lot about another of my favourite historic WA towns: Guildford. Many’s the winter walk I’ve enjoyed up James Street, with its quaint antique shops, second-hand bookshop and cosy cafes. 

Or along the river, if I was feeling more adventurous. Beyond that, there are plenty of walk trails that visit sights such as the Courthouse, the Rose and Crown Hotel, the Guildford Gaol, Taylor’s Cottage and Padbury’s Store, all of which date from around the mid-19th century.