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New bridge completes Travis Wetland walking track

29 October 2004

A 3.5 km accessible  walkway around Travis Wetland has been completed and is ready for public use.

During Christchurch City Council’s construction of the walkway, 24,000 plants were also added to the wetland, including 700 which were recently planted by the Travis Wetland Trust.

The Wetland’s ranger, John Skilton said the walkway gives visitors a unique opportunity to experience one of the city’s few surviving wetlands. “It is fantastic to visit the wetland at this time of year as there are so many birds breeding and nesting.  Pied stilts, paradise ducks, black swans and their cygnets, scaup and grey teal are just some of  the species that can be seen.”

The wetland and surrounding area is also an important winter habitat for pukeko, Mr Skilton said.  Cattle is grazed on land around the wetland during the summer to provide a short grass turf for wading birds such as pukeko and pied stilts. 

While much can be seen from the walkway, wetland visitors can also view wildlife from the area’s award winning bird hide, adjacent to the main pond, and from the four metre lookout tower on the western side of the wetland.

Until the walkway was completed it was impossible to walk a complete circuit of the area.  A bridge across Angela Stream was the last leg of the journey to be completed.

In the last month, since it was completed, more than 1900 people have taken the opportunity to travel around the walkway, which is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

 Bikes and dogs are not permitted in the area. Most of the wetland bird species feed and nest on the ground and are vulnerable to disturbance by dogs and cats.  “In the future we hope to re-introduce wetland bird species no longer present in Christchurch and to achieve this and improve nesting conditions for current species, dogs are not allowed on the walkway or within the wetland,” Mr Skilton said. Trapping of predators such as stoats, ferrets, hedgehogs and rats is carried out year round throughout the wetland.  

The new walkway will be officially launched with a guided walk, lead by members of  the Travis Wetland Trust and the Christchurch City Council, on Saturday 20 November at 10.30am, from the Beach Rd carpark. 

The Council and Travis Wetland Trust who jointly manage the Wetland are keen to hear what people think of the new walkway and plantings.  John Skilton can be contacted on  941 7540 or 027 496 8935.

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