New view from bridge

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The view from the Allan Turner suspension bridge has changed in recent weeks as a short stretch of walkway has been built below it along the Mangaharakeke Stream bank.

The bridge, opened last October, spans the Mangaharakeke Stream from Tamahere’s Woodcock Rd to Matangi’s Fuchsia Lane and has proved to be a popular walking and biking route for people in both communities.

Now, the start of another link between the two communities has been forged with the completion of a 250m stretch of walkway, which one day may reach 1.5km from the bridge to Bilsthorpe Lane in Matangi.

New view from the Allan Turner Bridge - cleared and ready for native plantings
New view from the Allan Turner Bridge – cleared and ready for native plantings

The project is a joint effort between the Waikato District Council and the Tamahere-Mangaone Restoration Trust (TMRT), whose main effort to date has been restoring the Tamahere Reserve on Tauwhare Rd.

“This is a very important first step,” said TMRT chairman Leo Koppens. “Adjoining landowners provided access through their properties for heavy machinery to build the track, an opportunity that won’t be there when houses are built on those sections bordering the stream.”

Council funding of $20,000, sourced from subdivision developer contributions, has paid for the work, which has included contractors spraying a tangle of blackberry, honeysuckle, gorse, and willows, mulching the dead material, and building the metaled track.

TMRT and Tamahere Gully Care now plan to revegetate the weed-free land on either side of the completed stretch of walkway, which is the only section of the hoped-for track that is on public land.

To be completed through to Bilsthorpe Lane the path along the stream bank will need to cross up to nine private properties, and so will only be built if landowners agree to provide access.

“It might take 10 years to complete the walkway,” Koppens said. “But if it does go through it will be the only walkway in Tamahere-Matangi along a gully.

“In the meantime, the part we do have access to will be restored with native plantings and be a more attractive view from the bridge.”

Much of the rest of the stream bank along the route has been well maintained by adjoining landowners and the cleaned up and replanted publicly-owned section will add to a healthy gully, Koppens said.

Presently, there is no public access to the new walkway.

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