3 Oct 2015

New 135km trail highlights biodiversity

8:41 am on 3 October 2015

A 135 kilometre walking trail around Christchurch opens today after more than 20 years in the making.

A map show the new 360 trail through Christchurch

A map show the new 360 trail through Christchurch Photo: Supplied

The Christchurch 360 trail links existing pathways and is broken down into eight stages. One stage goes from Avonhead in the west to the estuary, and another from Godley Heads in the east.

The man behind the trail, ecologist Colin Meurk, said the walk will be a great way for locals and tourists to enjoy the natural diversity of Christchurch.

"Christchurch is a biodiversity hotspot. It has as many plants growing wild inside the perimeter of the city than our native forests do, so we wanted to create the walk so people could enjoy it."

The idea for the trail was first floated in 1991, but costs and the earthquakes delayed progress.

Lyttelton Harbour

Lyttelton Harbour Photo: 123rf

"Last year the Christchurch City Council funded signs to mark out the trail and local rotary clubs volunteered time to install the markers, so it has been a real community effort," Mr Muerk said.

"As people go along the trail they can take photos and note down the plants and wildlife they see and register it on the 360 website."

The trail does not form a complete circuit as a route can not be marked alongside roads with speeds higher than 50km an hour, unless there is a footpath.

About $500,000 is needed to complete the trail, joining the gap between McLeans Island and Avonhead Park.

It will be officially opened at 11am today at Wetlands Grove in Bexley.

People wanting to explore the trail can find maps at http://christchurch360trail.org.nz/

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