7 Oct 2016

The Ready Money Trail

From Country Life, 9:20 pm on 7 October 2016
Russell, David and Anne

Russell Hansen, David Anderson and Anne Douglas Photo: RNZ / Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

The 150 hectare Cheviot Hills Reserve in North Canterbury is based around the original plantings and homestead of William "Ready Money" Robinson, who was the colourful landowner of the Cheviot Hills Estate from 1857 to 1889.

Under Robinson, the estate consisted of 33,000 hectares. After it was sold in 1892, the Government divided it up as ballot blocks for smaller farms.

The lavish 40-room homestead burnt down in 1936 and now the Cheviot Cricket Club pavilion sits on its foundations and enjoys the same pastoral views that Mr Robinson no doubt coveted from his balcony.

A new three kilometre walking and mountain bike trail has recently been completed in the reserve and it's been a labour of love for a group of local volunteers, led by retired sheep farmer David Anderson.

"It goes through a big variety of vegetation, some of it we call weeds. As a farmer I battled hawthorn, gorse, broom, blackberry, holly and barberry for most of my life but here they are part and parcel of the trail with the oaks, ashes and eucalyptus trees," he says.

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