"Meet at the Top" - Guided Walk - 19 February 2012

Walk leader, Peter Hunt from Wellington Forest & Bird, and 'Friends of Maara Roa' Guide Brenda Johnston talk to the group about to leave Takapu Road park entrance. 2012 'Meet at Top' Walk.

Photo 1

Going all the way up the open valley floor (no track), then up steep ridges to the top of the Belmont Hills. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 2

In the Korokoro valley, about half-way up that side, following the track. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 3

Head of the Korokoro valley and view to Eastbourne. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 4

Head of the Cannons Creek Valley, to Porirua Harbour and Kapiti Island (right distance).  Cannons Creek bush is seen (partially, as most is down in the gorge) as a green patch in the centre of the photo. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 5

Native growth in Cannons Creek valley about half-way up the headwaters area. This valley is still being grazed by cattle and sheep. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 6

Head of the Korokoro valley, showing some of the upper area vegetation. This valley has more vegetation because it has been retired from farming for many years, and under the care of Park Rangers. 2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 7

Back near Takapu Road, the group of keen hikers. Walk leader Peter Hunt, centre, from Wellington Forest & Bird, Wellington City councillor Helene Ritchie, left, and Belmont Park ranger Jeremy Paterson.  2012 'Meet at Top' Guided Walk.

Photo 8

Well, we all did "Meet At The Top" - and it was great!

An excellent turn out of fit and interested hikers reached the saddle between the Korokoro Stream headwaters and the Cannons Creek headwaters, on Sunday afternoon 19 February 2012. 

This was an Event which had been planned since September 2011.

It involved leading members of the Wellington branch of Forest and Bird, along with our Guides Brenda Johnston and Glenys Evans (photo 1) conducting 15 others from the Takapu Park Entrance, all the way up the open valley floor (photo 2) then up steep ridges to the top of the Belmont Hills.

There they met the other group, led by Forest and Bird (Lower Hutt) and the Korokoro Environmental Group, who started their climb from the opposite side of the Park, at Stratton Street Entrance.  (photo 3)

From the lower of two saddles between Korokoro and Cannons Creek, they got extensive views of both valleys, the pastures and the bush in them as well as right out to Wellington and Porirua Harbours. (photos 4 and 5)

The whole idea was to explore the gap between the Korokoro bush and Cannons Creek bush (our present restoration area) to see where the long-awaited bush corridor (eco-corridor, bird corridor, green corridor!) could be created, to join up the two areas of bush, enabling the passage of birds right over the Belmont Hills. 

Believe it or not, these two areas are only about 2 km apart, and in between there are already scattered pockets of native trees. (photos 6 and 7) 

The streams on both sides need fencing off from stock, and Park plans now have approved this as a future eco-corridor – currently the only place where the bush areas on either side of the Belmont Hills are close enough to be linked.

The Friends of Maara Roa and Wellington Forest and Bird currently have a joint steering Committee promoting this corridor with Greater Wellington. 

View of the headwaters valley of Cannons Creek. Copyright: Patrick A Fenlon

Photo 9

In the meanwhile, come and see the area for yourself.

A good view of the headwaters valley of Cannons Creek can be seen easily from the farm road leading from the Takapu Park Entrance, walking downhill beyond the Electricity Substation and looking up to your right (southwards) from the bottom of the dip. (Photo 9)

That's Cannons Creek - and when it's restored, it will complete the "Long Garden" - the whole valley will be "Maara Roa" at long last.

See the press coverage for this walk: 13 March 2012, Kapi-Mana News :: Group explores green corridor