West Melton Forest

The pine trees in West Melton Forest were originally planted as a flood protection measure and now they continue to do their job whilst providing scenic tracks for horse riders of all abilities.

At West Melton Forest, you will find float parking, toilet facilities, hitching posts for your horses, and a picnic area. There are horse riding specific trails throughout the forest. Walkers and runners are also welcome, but please stay on the forestry roads only.

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horseriding equestrians in West Melton forest


West Melton Forest is a section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park, covering approximately 350 hectares of pine forest between Chattertons and Weedons Ross Roads.
Used mainly for recreational horse riding and horse-carriage driving, walkers and runners are also welcome - although horses have the right of way. Picnic areas are provided, with hitching posts for horses.
The beautiful Kowhai Savannah, north of the car park, is covered by native grassland with indigenous trees and shrubs. It’s a snapshot of what the Canterbury Plains would have looked like before European settlement, and home to endangered mosses, lichens and other plants.
The main park entrance is off Chattertons Road.

Gates are open 7am to 7pm in winter and 7am to 10pm during daylight saving.

Dogs must be kept under effective control and close to you at all times.

No barbecues are provided but visitors are welcome to bring their own, provided they are gas-only and used in areas clear of vegetation. Light no fires. Dial 111 immediately if you see smoke or flames.


Float parking oval - A well-designed park for horse floats. Just drive in, pull over next to the central oval and drive on when you’ve finished. No backing needed.

Car park - Several spaces for cars, separate to the horse float park.

Picnic tables - With hitching posts for horses.

Public toilet


Horse riding – A 10km marked trail, suitable for all abilities. Large sandy areas and forestry roads allow riders to explore further.

While most of the trail is sandy, there are stoney sections where some horses may require shoes.

Horse carriage driving – Roads within the forest are suitable for carriages. The entrance will fit 1.8m-wide carriages. If you have a wider carriage, contact us to ask about key system.

Walking/running – There are no formal tracks but walkers and runners are welcome. Horses have the right of way.

Picnics – Several tables are available around the main parking oval. Hitching rails are for horses.


The pine trees of West Melton Forest were originally planted as flood protection, giving the stop banks a first line of defence against flooding.

Development of the forest as a park was undertaken due to increasing demand for safe horse riding facilities in the Selwyn District.