Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves
Wadham Reserve is a small reserve (0.28 ha) located at 42 Oriel Avenue on the south western footslopes of Tawa between Oriel Avenue (at Wadham Grove) and Pembroke Street, east of Redwood Bush. It covers an altitudinal range of 60 - 80 metres and is completely surrounded by urban residential development. Its legal description is Lot 47 DP 33779, part Section 36 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Recreation Reserve.
The area was mostly cleared for farming following European settlement and as part of the Redwood subdivision, apart from a small remnant of predominantly kohekohe adjacent to Oriel avenue and some regenerating mahoe in the gully at the northern end of the reserve. The remaining mostly steep bank area became a neglected weedy grassland with a few trees planted by neighbours. In 2004 the Friends undertook a working-bee to remove the worst of the weeds and planted 500 WCC supplied trees on the grass embankment area. Weed maintenance and some in-fill planting continued in subsequent years. In 2009 WCC improved the drainage of the lower corner area and this section was cleared of weeds and planted.
Notable specimen trees in the Reserve include a rata and a stand of kohekohe. Possum control of this area commenced as part of the Redwood Bush KNE area during 2002.
Woodburn Drive bush is an irregularly-shaped (c. 16.4 ha) area of valley escarpment located at 1 Woodburn Drive in the western slopes of the Takapu valley running from the creek bed to the west of Woodman Drive to the ridgeline. It covers an altitudinal range of 75 - 140 metres and is bordered by previous agricultural land that in recent years has been converted to lifestyle residential development, and a pine forest plantation. Its legal description is Lots 101 & 102 DP 79969 and Lot 52 DP 302319, parts Section 40 and 42 Porirua Survey District, and designated rural.
The surrounding area was mostly cleared for farming following European settlement but a bush remnant on this steep escarpment that comprises the reserve was left relatively intact. A bulldozed farm track sidling through the reserve and a water main access route provide access tracks for this reserve. In December 2005 the Friends undertook a working-bee to remove the worst of the weeds primarily Old Mans Beard and Himalayan Honeysuckle which continue to be monitored and controlled. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 the Friends planted 500 WCC supplied trees each year in the pastureland grass above the bush-line north of the cutting to revegetate the western boundary of the reserve area.
The site’s conservation significance is due to its remnant tawa forest and the significant age of some other surviving specimens including puka and kohekohe broadleaf trees, pigeon-wood and mapou. Possum control of this area commenced October 2006.
Charles Duncan Reserve
Charles Duncan Reserve is a small reserve (0.76 ha) located at 2B Fyvie Avenue on the north western footslopes of Tawa between Turriff Crescent and Main Road Tawa. It covers an altitudinal range of 20 - 40 metres and is completely surrounded by urban residential development. Its legal description is Lot 1 DP 51563, part Section 52 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Recreation Reserve.
Section 52 was originally purchased by Charles Duncan in 1866. As a trained horticulturalist, Charles continued his trade on their farm he called “Linden Vale” after a favourite spot of his in Kew Gardens – constructing a garden and nursery around their home. His son Stuart Duncan continued to live on the property and subsequent to his death the farm became the Lindenvale subdivision and this remaining portion was vested in the then Tawa Borough Council as Recreation Reserve in 1981.
Following an interest in the Duncan family by the Tawa Historical Society, a name of Charles Duncan Reserve was suggested for this area to the Wellington City Council in 2005 in recognition of the influence that Charles Duncan and his family had on the development of northern Tawa. This was approved by Council in May 2006 and, in collaboration with the Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves and the Wellington City Council, work was commenced to bring the reserve back from the overgrown neglected state that had hitherto befallen it. Over the following four years much of the weeds and rubbish has been removed and around 1,000 local grown native trees planted, a reserve name and information board signage added and an access track developed. Further native tree plantings and weed maintenance will continue.
A small ceremony was held at the reserve on 6 December 2009 to recognise of progress thus far and to open the access track provided. We hope that in the future neighbours and the people of Tawa may be able to enjoy this small enclave amongst suburbia as Charles once did and that it may also provide a significant contribution to supporting the increased native bird population that Tawa now enjoys and a remembrance to one of our pioneer families and the contribution they made to the development of Tawa.
Some notable exotic specimen trees in the reserve possibly survive from Charles Duncan's original plantings and these are being assessed by the WCC arborist department. Possum control of this area commenced during 2007.
The Forest of Tane
The Forest of Tane is a large reserve of 36-hectare in area on the western hills, flanking Tawa, and is made up of a remnant of native forest, pine forest and regenerating native trees. Walking access is via a ROW entrance at 58C Kiwi Crescent.
The forest sits between Redwood Bush and Spicer Forest, and provides an extended recreational area with walking tracks and views of Tawa. It enables a link from Tawa to the Te Araroa trail and Rangituhi (Colonial Knob). It also provides a valuable extended habitat for wildlife as part of a corridor linking the Kapiti Coast to Wellington.
The block came on the market in late 2016, and following a strong community interest and support, lead by FOTBR, the block was purchased by WCC in early 2017. Following a review of the Wellington Outer Green Belt Management Plan later in 2018 it is expected to formally become park of the Wellington Outer Green Belt. It is largest block of forest in Wellington not previously owned by the Council and forms a significant part of the unbroken green backdrop of Tawa and because of its location is an important part of the outer green belt.
This recreational asset has with potential for a two-and-a-half-hour loop walking track to connect Tawa with the Spicer Forest Reserve and Wellington's outer green belt, Te Araroa National Walkway, and Colonial Knob. Planning is underway for clearing and upgrading tracks that exist as well as developing others to enable a walking loop to be accomplished.
On 8 April 2017 a ceremony was held to declare the opening of the reserve to public access. The occasion saw 112 people attend the opening with the majority taking part in the walk, both young and old. The community support for Councilís action in purchasing the forest has been overwhelming and it was most fitting to recognise the purchase with a celebratory walk for community people.
Since WCC purchase, FOTBR has been undertaking some weed control along the existing walking track to the ridgeline. GWRC maintain posum bait stations as part of the Spicer Forest pest contgrol area.
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