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The Methven Walkway

Posted on February 4, 2019 at 2:55 AM
There is lots to do in Methven during the summer or winter months and one of our favourites is right in town, the Methven Walkway. The walkway was first opened years ago in 1979 and takes you on well-formed tracks through dense evergreens, past private farmland and along the Rangitata Diversion Canal. This is an easy 12.4 km track that starts and ends at the Methven I-site visitor center. Although the entire track is about 3.5 hours to walk it can easily be split into sections if you’re looking for a shorter walk.

The Methven walkway takes you through a world of beautiful Canterbury plains landscape. The town is rich in history and holds a certain grandiose with its stunning mountain backdrop of the Southern Alps.

To do the full circuit, starting from the Methven i-SITE visitor center, you would follow Chertsey Road to the iron gates of the Methven Cemetery. The area is shaded by tall evergreens and although some may find it a tad uncomfortable walking through a cemetery, studies have shown that a simple walk through can actually improve your mood and prompt positive thoughts. An interesting tid bit about Methven Cemetery is that it contains the war grave of Private Stewart Callaghan who served in the New Zealand forces during World War I.

It won’t take very long before you’ll find yourself entering the A & P show grounds and heading across the paddock to Barker’s Road. From there follow on to Holmes Road, across the highway and into the drain reserve which is situated right by the Methven Racecourse. The drain reserve is lined with trees call Wellingtonias which are part of the Sequoia species. They stand tall and provide a great home for nesting birds. The path crosses over a few footbridges before reaching the Rangitata Diversion Canal, which most locals call the RDR (Rangitata Diversion Race).The Rangitata Diversion Canal is an important part of the area’s water system. It was completed after World War II in 1945 taking almost 20 years to reach its full capacity. It was originally built to provide irrigation to the Ashburton county to increase production and diversify farms.

The canal is 66 km long carrying water from the Rangitata River to the Rakaia and provides water for irrigation in the summer and power in the winter. The idea to irrigate 66,000 acres was big at the time and became New Zealand’s largest major river diversion and irrigation scheme.

The track then follows the canal giving beautiful uninterrupted views of the Mt Hutt Range, Pudding Hill Range and Mt Taylor Range. The track is open and shared with bikers and sometimes sheep. Ducks like to float in the canal beside the track and birds singing above.If you’re feeling full of energy, once you’ve reached the Pudding Hill Road Bridge, you can keep going to the Ashburton River. The other option is to head back into town down Pudding Hill Road, follow the road around the golf course (Hobbs Road) which will lead to Main Street and back to the Methven i-SITE visitor center.

The walk is scenic giving lovely views of the landscape around and a tour through the town of Methven. Maps can be found at the Snow Denn Lodge to take you around this beautiful area!

Categories: Blogs about Methven & Surroundings