Short Loop Track

Short Loop Track

Wither Hills Farm Park

Maps

Information

approx 2.4 km return | 45 minutes return

This multi-use farm park is administered by Marlborough District Council and is a successful mix of farm, walking tracks and mountain bike trails. As this is also a working farm, so leave gates as you find them. The tracks are metalled and even.

Access

Wither Hills Farm Park is 4.1 km from central Blenheim along Maxwell Road, which merges into Taylor Pass Road. The parking area is signposted to the left.

Track

This multi-use farm park is administered by Marlborough District Council and is a successful mix of farm, walking tracks and mountain bike trails. As this is also a working farm, so leave gates as you find them. The tracks are metalled and even.

From the parking area head to the information kiosk where there’s a good map of the network. Head left along Forest Hills Track and 5 minutes on, the Short Loop Track and Rotary Lookout are signposted to the right. Head up the hill to the Rotary Lookout with fine views over the Wairau Plains, vineyards, Mount Richmond Forest Park and the coast. You can descend via the Gentle Annie Track or the slightly less steep Rotary Lookout Track.

Geology

The Wither Hills Farm Park has a long history of erosional problems. The loess soils are moderately fertile but impervious to moisture. When dry they are hard, but when wet they are prone to dissolve through subterranean tunnels, which cave in and start gully erosion.

All was fine before the arrival of the first pastoralists, as the silver beech forest and native greases both bound the soil and provided shelter from wind and rain. Once burning commenced and the vegetation cover was removed, the problems started. The litter disappeared and grazing hindered new growth. Lower fertility, scorched soils and the inability of plants to penetrate roots accelerated the rates of erosion. The rabbit plagues did little to help and the land rapidly became worthless. Furthermore, during storms massive quantities of debris were flushed down the valley.

In 1944 the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council set up a committee to address the problem. At first they removed all stock then constructed debris dams to stop the disappearance of overlying soil material. Live silt traps, plantings of buffalo grass, tree Lucerne, elm and pampas grass helped, as were groves of poplar and willow.

Later experimentation with other grass species such as rye-grass, white clover and cocksfoot aided greater soil fertility conditions and the grasses were able to establish.

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

South IslandMarlboroughBlenheim

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

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