This is a good ride of 4.5 to 6 hours from Brightwater for anyone wanting a long endurance ride with
plenty of variety. There is no technical difficulty and the climbs
aren't steep. Should not be ridden during the week as log trucks
routinely use Eder and Western Boundary Rds. Hancocks Forest permit
required. (Join Nelson MTB Club to get one). Take plenty of water as
there is none available and it's a good idea to take a 1 : 50,000 map
although not all the forest roads are correct on them.
Brightwater or Richmond head over to Waimea West and up Eves Valley Rd
past the timber mill. Take a right 50m before the locked gate on to Taylor Rd which also has a locked gate (more detailed map here
). Follow up for 2.5km keeping right until you reach Eder Rd. It is the main haul road for the timber mill. Turn
right on to this and follow it for 6km to the Dovedale Saddle. About 1.5
hours from Brightwater.
Turn right at Dovedale Saddle and head down some good switchbacks on the
gravel road. This turns into tarseal. Pass through Dovedale and about
2km later turn left up Sunday Creek.
• Alternatively start at Wakefield and ride up the Dovedale road to Dovedale Saddle. This will cut about 30mins off the ride.
The gradual climb up Sunday Creek Road to the saddle
About 2 hours. Sunday Creek Rd
climbs at an easy grade for 25 minutes to a saddle and then drops down
and joins the Motueka Valley Rd. Turn left for about 1km then left again
on to Stanley Brook Rd which is gravel again. Continue on up here
eventually passing through a couple of farm gates (about 3 hours) as the
road heads up into forestry and climbs up the ridge top where you turn
right into Thorns Rd (not currently marked). One to two km along here
turn left on to Western Boundary Rd. This road continues right through
to the top of the Dovedale Hill, however a more interesting route is to
turn right when you reach the Golf Rd intersection and head down it. Click here
for a more detailed map of the Golf Rd - Pigeon Valley South Branch area.
Upper Stanleybrook leads back up into forestry. Descent down Golf Road (now logged)
can drop off down Ricketts Rd to the South Branch of Pigeon Valley, but
it is better to angle right and continue on Golf Rd past Bradleys Rd (4
hours) through newly replanted pines. Navigation can get more difficult
from here, but stick to the most obvious main road. Less than 1km fter
Bradleys there is a Y intersection with a drooping sign on it. Go left
here and then generally keep right. Golf Rd gradually narrows and
re-enters trees, there is a another sign at a Y intersection further to
direct you before a swift descent down to the valley floor through a recently logged area. After the
forestry gate go left with a couple of short climbs before emerging on
Pigeon Valley Rd. Turn right and cruise a K to Wakefield. Refuel if
necessary at the Chateau Rhubarbe before heading back to Brightwater
(4hrs 40) or Richmond via Bird Lane and Higgins Rd or Mt Heslington Rd
to avoid the main road as much as possible.