WHO would have thought that a beautiful small town in the State's south west would be home to a rare biodiversity program helping homeowners protect the natural values of the bushland that surround their homes?
Supported by the National Trust, the Parkwater Estate developer and community in Cowaramup share the belief that the natural environment is intrinsically valuable.
It is intertwined with the town's heritage and contributes to a community's sense of place and wellbeing, creating 'rare earth'.
This 'rare earth' philosophy has driven the Parkwater Estate developers to retain the natural native forest throughout the estate, donating more than 30 per cent to the National Trust, to be preserved in perpetuity for the Parkwater homeowners and generations to come.
"The National Trust is proud to be associated with Parkwater Estate and aims to see the bush conserved to protect its exceptional natural heritage values," said National Trust chief executive officer Julian Donaldson.
While many developers can build an estate, not all can assist in building a sustainable community, as has been achieved at Parkwater Estate, by Parkwater Corporation Pty Ltd, under the stewardship of the Palmer family.
"We amalgamated farmland and developed vineyards, the lake and the lifestyle residential land while preserving all of the valuable waterways and native forest, to nurture its biodiversity into a conservation heritage reserve,'' a company spokesperson said.
"We also brought core services into Cowaramup for the comfort and benefit of the community as a whole."
Existing and future residents can enjoy the tranquillity of the mature forest, waterways and the dual-use walk/cycle trails established throughout the estate.
Centrally located, Parkwater Estate is only 13 minutes' drive to Margaret River and less than 30 minutes to either Dunsborough or Busselton, making it one of the South West's most connected communities.
Lucy Guyer is just one of many residents who have benefitted from this rare lifestyle experience.
Initially building a holiday property, Lucy and her family fell in love with the area so much they ended up making the move down from Perth permanent.
"It's a safe environment, the kids can get out on their bikes, they can ride to the local primary school in Cowaramup,'' Ms Guyer said.
"My eldest goes to Georgianna Molloy Anglican School, just north of Busselton and there's a fantastic bus service that takes the kids there.
"What's great about Parkwater is that everyone supports each other and we're like a big family.
"It's just a really positive place to live."
Cowaramup has a strong local community and thrives with quirky cafes and restaurants.
Located in an area offering an abundance of artisan wine, beers and fresh produce, it's an active town and, although small, has developed a mighty reputation.
Keven Hopkins has also embraced the Parkwater lifestyle as an active member of the Cowaramup community.
"The community of this place is just unbelievable,'' Mr Hopkins said.
I got involved in the Men's Shed and we seem to be the centre of the community where they all come.
"I've always worked on my own when I was farming and I never had people around me.
"I enjoy helping people and it makes me feel good."
Cowaramup has grown to be one of WA's most unspoilt, active and vibrant communities in the world-renowned Margaret River region.
The next time you're in the area, take a leisurely stroll through Parkwater Estate, Cowaramup's beautiful native forest.
With more than 40km of walking and biking trails a visitor is sure to get lost in the abundance of native flora and fauna and maybe even bump into a friendly local.
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