By Mick Tarry
NEARBY TOWN/CITY: Ashburton, Christchurch
DISTANCE FROM TOWN CENTRE: 80-90 mins from Christchurch
EXACT LOCATION: DOC car park at the end of Jig Road. From Mt. Somers township follow the road for 9km up the Ashburton Gorge Rd (towards Lake Clearwater and Lake Heron) to Jig Rd on the right It’s 4km up Jig Rd to the car park.
TOTAL ROUTE DISTANCE: 17km return
TIME TO RUN: 2hrs (Elite) – 4hrs (Novice)
TOTAL ASCENT: approx 870m. TOTAL DESCENT approx 870m
TYPE OF TRAIL RUN: Out and back
DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS: Mostly single track, some 4WD.
FEATURES OF INTEREST: Old coalmine workings, black beech forest, water caves, Woolshed Creek gorge. Stunning views to Mt Arrowsmith range. Possibly one of the most varied short trips it is possible to do in NZ
ONLINE REFERENCE: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/71249243
BEST MAP/S: K36 Methven
RUN IT: Start at DOC car-park . Follow trail , which is the line of the old tramway for 1 km followed by steep climb to the mine-workings. Have a look at the remains there – a real tribute to the local historical preservation society. From there follow the edge of the forest as you climb to the 4WD track which climbs gently to a low ridge which you then cross to descend to Woolshed Creek Hut. From there follow the zig-zag up to another small ridge then drop down again to the south branch of Woolshed Creek From there it climbs steadily past the water caves ( worth a 5min detour). After 7km it levels out to the saddle with the Bowyers Stream which flows to Stavely. Return the same way.
POST RUN GOODNESS: Mt Somers Store for an Ice cream and a look at all the memorabilia on show
To view this guide as a PDF click here.