New developments at The Willows and Weedons Forest

Park-goers in West Melton will notice some changes taking place at The Willows during the next few months.

Environment Canterbury, along with Selwyn District Council, are creating new recreational facilities.

The Willows, at the end of Thompsons Road, off Old West Coast Road, is being developed for non-motorised activities. There are plans for a dedicated motorhome camping area with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association.

In turn, Weedons Forest will be available for a range of off-road activities, including trail biking.

Trail bike riders will have a dedicated area at the Weedons Ross Road end of the park.

The trail bike area will link up with 28km of further trails downstream in Miners Forest to Haul Road.

Four-wheel drive enthusiasts can access the river upstream of Intake Road on the south bank or the north bank of the Waimakariri River, west of Harrs Road.

Working closely with local clubs

Simon Woods, team leader parks and forests for Environment Canterbury, said this development would provide something for everyone.

“We have worked closely with local clubs to ensure a range of needs will be met,” Woods said.

One of those local clubs is the Canterbury Offroad Racing Club and president Gavin Storer said the new development would be great for their members.

“The Canterbury Offroad Racing Club are looking forward to further development of the motorsport park and are excited about holding future events in this area,” Storer said.

“As one of the main users of the park for club events we really appreciate being given the opportunity by ECan to contribute to the improvement of the Weedon Ross and Willows development and think this will be a fantastic, safe environment for motorsport enthusiasts to come together.”

There will be fishing access along the river frontage at The Willows and Weedons Forest, with access via Thompsons Road and Weedons Ross Road.

Fully self-contained freedom campers will be welcome for up to two weeks at a time on the Waimakariri River’s south bank, west of Intake Road up to the Gorge. People can also camp west of Diversion Road on the north bank.

The parks will remain open and construction will be ongoing during the summer. Woods asked people to be mindful of that.

“Signage will be in place and we want everyone to take the time to read the information available to them,” Woods said.

Selwyn supports park development

Mark Rykers, manager open space and property for Selwyn District Council, welcomed the development.

“The Selwyn District Council is pleased to partner with Environment Canterbury in this wonderful project, which will see an underutilised area transformed into a family-friendly destination,” Rykers said.

“The enhanced biodiversity, along with the creation of a multi-use park, and other recreational experiences, is an exciting prospect for Selwyn residents”.

Completion for the project is earmarked for February/March 2019.