February 11, 2024

Heathcote Valley Reserves

Duncan Park

Duncan Park

The late Mary Duncan bequeathed Duncan Park to the Christchurch City Council in 1949, for the purposes of a public reserve. Duncan Park consists of 23.4 hectares extending east from the Avoca stream over a steepish spur and down into Horotane Valley. The north boundary is on Port Hills Road and the south boundary adjoins rural/horticultural properties higher up Avoca Valley. Access is from Port Hills Road.

Birdsey Reserve

Birdsey Reserve

Birdsey Reserve is an amazing space opposite the Heathcote Valley Community Centre on Bridle Path Road. Students at Heathcote Valley School have held planting, weeding and watering events with a Council ranger since 2019. The aim here is to completely revegetate the remaining grassed paddocks over 5 years and care for the other more established bush areas as we go.

Who are we?

Heathcote Valley is a special place populated with many people who care for their environment.  It is not a surprise, therefore, that there are several groups at work to restore parts of the valley.  We are of all ages and interests but we have the common desire to see a thriving ecosystem of native bush and its fauna return to parts of the valley.

What we do

While there are planting days in appropriate times of the season, the most important work is in keeping grasses and weeds at bay while the native plants grow big enough to fend for themselves and develop a canopy.


Most of the groups working in these reserves are of relatively recent origin. Their common denominators are legends of the valley and people of immense modesty and mana – John Marsh and Tamsin Page.

Bridle Path Reserve

Bridle Path Site Nov 1 2021

The Bridle Path was cut during September and October 1850 by Captain J. Thomas. Settlers made constant use of the Bridle Path until the opening of the Sumner Road to Lyttelton via Evans Pass in 1857 and the Lyttelton rail tunnel in 1867. The early settlers carried most of their belongings over the hill, the horses had to be led on the bridle up the track to the summit hence the name, Bridle Path. The work in this reserve has so far involved planting an area protected by a rock fall fence just south of the gondola base facility over the last 3 years. This work will move gradually up the valley over time.


Duncan Park

John Marsh 0274 310 182 or jmarshtree@gmail.com 

Birdsey & Bridle Path Reserves

Tamsin Page 0276 423 555 or tamsin.page@gmail.com

Community Groups