Horse Riders on Kennedys Bush Track
Photo by Peter Hurst

Horse access to Kennedy’s Bush Track

Horse riders now have access along Kennedy's Bush Track, thanks to some compelling advocacy by public access campaigner Peter Hurst.

Kennedy’s Bush Track in the Port Hills of Canterbury is a legal road running from the houses behind Halswell Quarry up to Summit Road.

The legal road that the track follows sits adjacent to two private properties. There are two different owners — one owns the top block, and the other owns the bottom block. Hurst says the top block owner recently fenced off the road from halfway up Kennedy’s Bush Track to Summit Road.

That gave an opportunity for Hurst and allies to talk to the council about the bottom half of the track.

“I just told them they needed to have it open for all traffic, especially horses,” says Hurst.

After about nine months of discussion, the council agreed to install three horse gates. Herenga ā Nuku’s Canterbury field advisor supported the proposal for horse access. The gates are about 1m wide, letting horses, bikes, and walkers through, but not vehicles. They went in at the end of 2022.

Horse gate on Kennedy's Bush Track

Since then, Hurst reckons about 50 or 60 horse riders have used the track.

But his aspirations do not stop there.

“It’s an absolute success. It will be even better when we extend the track. We can now ride around a bit. But I’d really like to continue that track all the way around to Akaroa, on all the old stock routes. It’s all unformed legal roads in there.

“The whole of the Port Hills is already available for horse access,” says Hurst. “We just require a few stiles and the gateways to make it happen.”

“That’s what horse advocates will be working on next.”

More information

Stuff: Horses return to Port Hills track for first time in 20 years, 11 February 2023