Trail bridge building Duke of Ed Pukekohe HIgh School
Photo by Andrew Sinclair

Belmont Rise loop enhances Pukekohe trail

An Enhanced Access Grant is helping the Whakaupoko Landcare add a loop up Belmont Rise to the popular Five Summits Trail in Pukekohe.

The Five Summits Trail was established by the Pukekohe Tramping Club in 2019, with support from Herenga ā Nuku. Whakaupoko Landcare and Franklin Active Trails are now creating a loop to enhance that trail by connecting the end of Adams Road South to Rifle Range Road. This allows trail users get to the Adams Road summit. It transforms a there-and-back leg of the Five Summits Trail into a loop, connecting to Pukekohe Hill by other local roads.

Franklin Active Trails is securing access along the route with a walkway easement. To support the group, Herenga ā Nuku granted $ 5,000 to help with legal fees incurred securing the easement over the land, survey costs for the easement, and track signage.

Without the easement, the connection would only be possible via steps close to the summit area and would not be accessible for people pushing strollers, riding bikes or with motorised wheelchairs.

Andrew Sinclair, who is leading the project for Franklin Active Trails, says the new loop allows the local community to turn an unloved, unvisited and weedy piece of land into a biodiversity corridor that all can enjoy.

“It is right on the new urban boundary and has potential for high community use. The easement provides room to create a safe shared uphill path that can be walked, cycled or accessed by a person with a stroller. It also creates downhill bike paths that separate walkers from bikers. Locals can develop their walking and cycling fitness and skills in a safe environment on their back door so they explore the rest of Aotearoa.”

The local community has a strong ownership interest in the trail. Welsey College’s and Pukekohe High School year 10 Duke of Edinburgh students are among the volunteers who have been digging the trail and planting the native forest.

Sinclair says the volunteers are introducing low-cost puriri dominant forest along the trail and have already controlled much of the woolly nightshade, gorse, blackberry and privet.

Franklin Active Trails is working closely with the landowners, Watercare, and the controlling authority, Auckland Council. Volunteers from the group also hold monthly trail-building projects and engage in local trail advocacy and planning.

Franklin Active Trails is holding an Enviro Day on 19 September for local school students to help the community with planting native trees and building trails for walking and cycling.

  • When: Tuesday, 19 September, 9.30am – 2.30pm (Back-up Day is 20 September if postponed due to bad weather).
  • Where: Summit of Belmont Rise – top of Adams Rd South
  • Bring: Solid footwear and a tree-planting spade
  • For more info, contact Andrew Sinclair