Up to date information on mountainbike trails in Nelson-Tasman-Marlborough.

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St Arnaud Trails Update

6.3.2017 Maitland Ridge is in excellent condition drier than it has been for months. Maintenance over the last 3 months has improved the few sections of trail that weren't up to standard.

Flying Moa is riding well with the small wet patch a quarter of the way down now dried out.

Bruce on Flying Moa

Sidewinder is in great condition too. Remember that the west end of Big Bush and Douglas Hill are closed for harvesting for the next 4 weeks. Please respect all signage.

Duck Down is now all dry. Work continued over the weekend with another 4 tonnes of clay dumped on soft sections. This track is now in mint condition. Yesterday we made improvements to one of the sharp corners on the lower part of the track. Another couple of tonnes will be added as time permits to finish it off properly, but in the meantime make the most of the dry weather and go ride it.

Rocks added to the corner on Duck Down to widen the radius

Muddy sections of Big Bush Track have dried out and we will deal to them once we have completely finished the section of Duck Down from Big Bush track in to the clearings.

Maggie Barrie, the Minister of Conservation, was at St Arnaud on Friday as part of the Vespex wasp poisoning programme. Alan Eskrick represented the Trust at a small gathering near the lake.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is shown how to put Vespex wasp poison in a bait station

Duck Down Improvements

26.2.17 Over the weekend a crew of keen volunteers worked to fix the boggy sections of Duck Down Track at Teetotal that have resulted from the wet spring and summer that we have experienced. Using the new power barrow, several tonnes of clay was mined in the clearing at the top of the track and carted along the track to fill the hollows. Jakmat was then installed in some places to help stabilse the surface with more clay spread over the top again to bind it in.





One more day's work should see the whole of the wet sections fixed. The track is already quite rideable and better than it ever was.


Brendon tries out his latest berm creation. Gareth & Dale dump another load.


The first creek crossing improved and another section fixed with rocks.


Rob covers the Jakmat with clay while Jane and Dale mine another load.

St Arnaud working bee

4.1.16  We are holding a working bee at St Arnaud this Monday. Meet 9am at the DOC Visitor Centre.

We have had so many offers of help from people who have enjoyed riding the St Arnaud trails that we thought it would be rude not to take advantage of them. With rain forecast for the weekend it will be a great opportunity to do some maintenance on Kaka Track when we can see where the drainage needs a bit of attention. If you have a grubber or spade handy, please bring them along as most of our tools are still out in the bush.

Another bog fixed

27.12.15  Last Wednesday Bruce, Jane and Alan completed remediation of another boggy stretch of Duck Down at St Arnaud. Rocks were scrounged from the surrounding area and bedded in the mud, while jakmat and clay were laid over other soft sections. You can now ride the whole track without getting your bike dirty...providing the weather is dry. But then none of us ride tracks in the wet, do we!

The bog before it was attacked 

A jakmatted section above the bog

Bruce brings a stack of jakmat on site

The rock feature that now replaces the bog

The creek crossing filled with rock and the following soft section jakmatted

Maitland Ridge in Mint Condition

27.12.15 If you weren't on Maitland Ridge track today this is what you were missing. The track was in perfect condition with at least 16 riders going through. If you were one of them please go to http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7006182/maitland-ridge-track and rate the track and each of the photos. Higher ratings will give our region more prominence, which can lead to more funding for more tracks like this one. Take a good look around MTBProjects.com, it's quite an impressive website and next year we will be loading more of our rides on to it. Wakamarina, Kill Devil, and Fowler Pass-Lake Guyon and Heaphy are already there. 

Dun Mountain Trail open for Christmas

12.12.15  Great news, especially for all the holiday visitors to Nelson!
It's been a difficult situation for NCC staff - this logging couldn't be delayed as once the Brook Sanctuary fence was completed, it would have been even more challenging to get these trees out. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, but it's another example of that period in time 20-30 years ago where plantation pine was thrown at many sites that would be considered inappropriate to plant these days due to other, and arguably more important demands for the use and protection of the land.

Two year old rides Silvan trails

11.12.15 This two year old was spotted today riding the Silvan tracks with her father. Might take the record for the youngest rider on the trails.

Two year old and dad riding up Exodus

The dynamic duo head down Spittrock to squeals of delight

Bog fixed on Duck Down

9.12.15  Bruce and Jane McCallum and Alan Eskrick were up working on Duck Down today fixing one of the boggy sections. They scoured the area for rocks to drop in to the bog, then overlaid jakmat, which was then covered with barrow loads of clay. More jackmat is needed to completely finish the section but there is enough rock in now to make it rideable. There is one more major bog to fix, which they hope to attack in the next week or two and then cast their attention on some of the smaller muddy sections of the track that have developed over the last winter.

Bruce drops rocks into the seemingly bottomless bog

The completed piece of track

Exodus Track completed today

8.12.15  Big day today with a meeting of diggers in the forest. Andrew Spittal working down from the top of Exodus and Gary Donaldson working up from Jubilee Gum linked up today to complete the track.

Exodus is now fully open all the way through, for your riding pleasure in either direction. It's also signposted with trail markers at each end so you know where it is! (top of Alpha - top of Sequence/Jubilee Gum)
Massive thanks to Chris, Andrew and Gary - this trail has been a serious undertaking, and the result is well worth the hard work and taking the hard options.
Exodus opens up some new loop opportunities in Silvan, and is something a little bit different to add to the network.

Gary carves out a corner on the Jubilee Gum end of Exodus

New Exodus Track under Construction

27.11.15 (for breaking trail news visit our Facebook page).

Work commenced last week on the new Exodus track linking the current top of the Alpha track back to the top of Sequence. There has been some very steep terrain and quite a bit of rock to test Andrew and Gary's skills on the diggers, but progress has been rapid. Amazing work by these guys and Chris who, as always, is there hand grooming and finishing behind the diggers as well as keeping the guys on the diggers going in the right direction.

The key to the trail was to find a route through a major gully involving 3 creek crossings and this has now been achieved with the rest of the route now more straightforward. Exodus is intended to be 2-way if we can keep to acceptable grades on the terrain.

Exodus crosses a very steep side slope before crossing the native gully

Andrew creating a corner in the native gully

Meanwhile higher up in the forest Rick is working his way down what will be an upper extension of Alpha that will provide an uphill route to the top of the forest. This will open up routes for new downhill tracks higher up in the forest.

Rick's digger parked on the Alpha extension

Rob inspects the easy grade of the Alpha extension

Conservaton Weekend


Over the weekend 7th & 8th of November MTB Trails Trust guided several groups of varying abilities around the new trails in the Teetotal/Big Bush area at St Arnaud. The response from these riders was overwhelmingly positive with many finding them challenging but lots of fun and "so different to the tracks close to town".

The Trust has supplied DOC with signage so the trails are clearly signposted

Julie rounds a huge boulder on Flying Moa

A group crossing a clearing at the top of Duck Down

Happy riders at the top of Flying Moa

Crossing the dam at the bottom of Sidewinder

Silvan Forest - Another New Trail.....

Oringinally named Sampler, the new Sling climbing trail up to the Jubilee Gum boundary has been completed today. It runs up through another stunning macrocarpa block, and is a climbing option off Alpha, designed to access the new downhill trail and Sequence a little more directly. While built predominantly as a climbing trail, Sling is two-way. 


While Sling has had a groom and first shape, a couple of the corners will get some more attention as they settle in over the next few days, meantime, get some tire tracks on it!


Silvan Forest - New 'Goliath' Trail (updated Aug 11th)

We'll keep rolling these out! Goliath is a downhill specific trail, running from the Jubilee Gum viewpoint down to the start of Alpha in the valley floor. It's an intermediate grade trail, with plenty of features which are all rollable and with good sightlines.

The bottom 1/3 especially is still a bit fresh (cut through on Friday Aug 7th) and a section through the middle is getting dealt to with these heavy frosts we are having at the moment, so is a little bit mushy. It will likely stay that way until we get a bit of drying weather, but is still fun to ride!. At the bottom, we've built a mellow little jump sequence to finish the trail off. These will settle a little over the next few weeks and will be reshaped as they need it, but are riding well already.

Thanks to Andrew Spittall and Gary Donaldson for the machine time - another MTB Trails Trust project delivered for your riding pleasure!

Silvan Forest July Update

The next big push in Silvan is underway as at July 20th. We are working to fill the north-eastern corner of the property, and this stage will complete the network of easier, wider trails which have real easy accessibility from the main entrance point. The potential for quick, easy to access loops will be realised with the completion of these trails.

Here's what we are working on:

  • The completion of Jubilee Gum, which will take riders to a fantastic viewpoint over Tasman Bay (at the gnarly old Jubilee Gum)     July 23rd Flash - Jubilee Gum finished and ready to ride!
  • Sling, which is a climbing specific trail branching off Alpha about 2/3rds of the way up, an will take riders to a high point on the lower network, just across a small saddle to the Jubilee Gum. Slink, linking Sling and the top of Sequence, includes a long pump line, which will provide a fun alternative route from close to the top of Sequence to Sling and on to the Jubilee Gum

Slink pumpline is finished already and ready to roll!

  • Goliath, a downhill specific trail, starting at the Jubilee Gum and running down the northern boundary of the property right down to the valley floor
  • Another as yet un-named, short downhill specific trail beside Sling, which will have a riding feel similar to Sequence with some added features to keep things interesting

If you're around and about, come and have a look and say hello. Andrew Spittall (Chings) is running his new digger, and progress is suitably rapid!

Victoria Domain, Picton

The first stage of the Victoria Domain project in Picton is well on the way to being completed, after a three week push at the end of June. The Marlborough MTB Club's Picton trail group, led by John Pickering and Gavin Beattie have supported Chris on the digger to get the 1100m link between the marina carpark and the water reservoir completed.

Edridge Contracting (via trustee Malcolm Edridge) generously donated their small Cat digger for the job, and 70 hours digger time later has seen this first grade 2/3 link completed. Its a real cracker too - winding its way up through regenerating native bush, with a big feature being the many old tree ferns and mamakus that define the trail route. 

The trail mover heading back to Edridge's Pelorus base

Next time you're passing through Picton, take a little time to explore this developing trail system. Victoria Domain and the Snout have a growing network of handbuilt grade 3-4 trails, and this new (two-way) climbing link will help make accessibility so much easier and more enjoyable. All going well, the bottom loop of this first stage of the project will be completed before the end of August, when the focus will then shift further out onto the Snout to another, longer MTB loop trail.

Keep in touch direct with the Picton group via their Facebook page here

Flying Moa Update 2.6.15

Since work commenced on the new Flying Moa Track at Big Bush, St Arnaud on May 5th, progress has been rapid with working bees both formal and informal over the last two weekends in addition to the two days put in by 16 ranger trainees. We estimate that we are now two-thirds of the way up to the Big Bush Track. To date 373 man hours have been put into building this track.

Red line on the map shows progress to date. Grey line shows the approximate route that will be followed up to Big Bush Track, the black dashed line.

First creek crossing - before Rob got into it

Rob & Alan survey first creek crossing after Rob attacked it

Rhys tests the new trail

A borrow pit being used for clay to cover roots

Mature beech forest and bird song abound along Flying Moa

Here the track winds through the beech forest on a flat section of ridge

Silvan Forest Update May 27th

The Trust has had another grunty push in Silvan over the last three weeks, and has broken out three new trails as part of the lower forest loop options.

We've also broken the hour mark, which means you can ride these purpose built trails for at least an hour without repeating trails (other than the climbing feeders). So things are progressing rapidly!

Jubilee Gum is mostly complete - this climbing trail accesses the eastern boundary of the Griffin's property and will lead to an amazing viewpoint overlooking Tasman Bay, where the Jubilee Gum has pride of place. This trail will also access three new down specific trails which are next on the radar to build.

The first of these, Sequence is cut and riding well. Because things are so dry up in the forest at the moment, it's been difficult to get these corners compacted in - but as soon as we get a little bit of rain there will be some corner shaping happening on this one to set things in. Sequence also has a short climbing loop attached to it, which takes riders back onto Jubilee Gum to the boundary saddle.

Omega has also been cut through and is open to ride. This downhill trail will become the main exit trail out of the forest, and has been built to keep riders off the access road when riding back out to Champion Rd. Again, this is very dry at the moment, but will benefit from plenty of bikes riding it before a good groom takes place after the next rain. The entry point for Omega is at the bottom of the 'Arena', on the left hand side of the access road when looking down, and pops out just beside the deer gate. Arena is the name given to the big open area just inside the forest that Rick is landscaping and planting. It is designed to be a central hub for the tail network and anybody using the area.

Barnicoat Ridge Closed until October

Hancocks are harvesting at Couches Road, and are hauling timber along the Barnicoat Ridge and out through German Bush in the Aniseed. They will have the Barnicoat Ridge between the top of Glider Road and close to the fire lookout in the Kingsland Forest above Richmond closed from today, 24 hours a day Monday to Friday. Barnicoat Ridge will only be open during the weekends while this operation is running.

For riders accessing Widdershins and Involution, there will be no problems using Glider Road as per normal. However, from the top of Glider Road you won't be able to swing west and head towards Richmond along the Barnicoat Ridge. And vice versa for Richmond riders wanting to head east along Barnicoat Ridge from the fire lookout - closure signs are in place and need to be observed.

St Arnaud NMIT Trainee Ranger Week May 4-8

After the success of 2014's inaugural trainee ranger week at St. Arnaud, this program was included as a permanent part of NMIT's Trainee Ranger course. Effectively a collaboration between DOC, NMIT and the MTB Trails Trust, the objective of this module is to provide trainee rangers with the knowledge and practical skills around designing and building sustainable trails. Many of these students go on to full time placements with DOC all across the country, and this type of training is invaluable considering the increased focus and awareness DOC is managing internally and through community partnerships in the recreational opportunities space.

Alan and Chris provided the training, with a sit-down sustainable trails presentation on Monday afternoon. The rest of the week was spent in Teetotal on the tools, with the 15 trainees starting the build on the new Flying Moa trail. Great progress was made on the trail, with a motivated and energetic group of trainees pushing through 1040 metres of new trail. The MTB Tails Trust is proud to be a part of this program, and is hugely appreciative of the support from the Nelson Lakes DOC office (John Wotherspoon, Tracey Grose and Co) as well as NMIT's Calvin Tuck and Beth Endres.

 Mike and Kerry cut line ahead of the Ranger crew

Breaking trail at a fast rate

Refueling stop

Silvan Forest Development Updates

Its a good time to send out an update of where we are at with Silvan Forest, as the news is all good!

Our second big push to get the deer gate entrance linked up via a climbing track up to our initial macrocarpa loop has been finished, and is getting heavy traffic. Its also difficult to keep referring to tracks with no names, however we will have that remedied real soon, with fresh new trail markers arriving this week. The climbing link backbone from the deer gate right up through the forest is going to be called 'Heaven up Here' in deference to Gareth Hare's early work in the forest some years ago.

Forest owners Rick and Sarah Griffin are thrilled with the number of riders using the trails already, and they were also impressed and energised by the Intermediate Summer Tourney and Tasman Secondary Schools MTB Champs run up here at the end of March/start of April. So thrilled are they that they want to expand plans in the lower part of the forest, and the Trust will get to build a selection of downhill dedicated trails (that weren't originally planned) as a result. One of the skid sites recently vacated has also been set aside for a decent sized pump track, and we'll be getting on with some planning for that through autumn.

The trails in now have compacted and hardened, and are riding really well. There's going to be no real problems getting these through their first winter season, but we do ask that riders stick to the trails - shortcut lines etc are just plain annoying. Feedback welcomed!