Public access over farmland is 'win-win'

Farmers creating public access across their land can build awareness of what they do, strengthen relationships with the community and even boost farming productivity.

That's according to Alistair Gibb, who recently established an easement and track to facilitate public access across his Wairarapa farm to a scenic section of the Ruamahanga River near Gladstone.

The trail idea was originally proposed to Mr Gibb in 2013 by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. The idea was to install a track across a section of Mr Gibb's land to link nearby Carter's Reserve to the river and enhance the recreational value of the area.

River recreation and environmental enhancement is an objective of the Gladstone Upper Ruamahanga River Management Scheme, which is administered by the Council.

Mr Gibb supported the idea, and a project to formalise the access, clear scrub and create a 500-metre publicly accessible track to the river was born.

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission supported the project by providing an $8,000 Enhanced Access Fund grant to Sustainable Wairarapa Inc, which was backing the project, to help fund the easement and development of the route on Mr Gibb's land.

“I originally come from the Scotland in the UK, where England especially has a very good network of walkways and bridleways that provide a good way for people to gain controlled access to the countryside,â€