The Willows

The Willows, at the end of Thompsons Road, off Old West Coast Road in West Melton, has been developed specifically for non-motorised recreation activities.

This development was driven by Environment Canterbury, along with the Selwyn District Council, to provide recreation and green space opportunities for the rapidly expanding population.

There are picnic and parking areas, fishing points, a New Zealand Motor Caravan Association parking area, walking and cycling trails, and a 4.3-hectare dog park that includes agility equipment, open spaces, and picnic areas. Dogs must be under effective control at all times. 

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Located in West Melton, The Willows has been developed for non-motorised recreation activities. View google map.

There are shared walking and cycling trails and given the location next to the Waimakariri River, there are plenty of good spots for fishing.

  • Off-road driving and trail biking is not permitted.
  • Dogs are welcome in The Willows and must be kept under effective control at all times. There is also a dedicated 4.3-hectare dog park, set amongst open spaces and established trees.

  • 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.

Night gates

Thompsons Road, off Old West Coast Road, which provides access to The Willows, has a night gate, there is also a gate at Weedons Ross Road.

Gates will be open from 6am each day and shut at 7.30pm in winter and 6am to 10.30pm during daylight saving.


Freedom camping is not permitted at The Willows. 

The park was developed in partnership with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association and their members can stay in the park.

View a map of the development of The Willows and Weedons forest.

  • Picnic tables
  • Public toilet
  • Car parking
  • Motorhome caravan spots – Guests must be a member of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association
  • Dog park with agility equipment and picnic tables

Walking and cycling — There’s a 4km shared trail at The Willows for walking and cycling. The trail takes you through various parts of The Willows.

Fishing — Salmon and trout can be found here but you must have a current fishing licence from Fish & Game New Zealand. There will be maintained fishing access along the river frontage at The Willows.

Swimming — The Willows is located next to the Waimakariri River and there are some great areas to go for a swim. Remember to check the water quality before you swim.


The Willows gives people the opportunity to enjoy non-motorised recreation near the Waimakariri River.

The park was developed in conjunction with Selwyn District Council to reflect the growing population of the Selwyn district.

Previously this area of West Melton was a popular spot for families to go, given its proximity to the river. This development has provided the area with a new lease of life and will give Canterbury park users a place to go for many years to come.

More than 1000 trees were planted during the creation of The Willows.

View a map of the development of The Willows and Weedons forest.