NELSON TRAILS

Marsden Valley and Barnicoat Range

Barnicoat Range forms the impressive backdrop behind Stoke and Richmond, rising steeply to more than 500 m elevation for most of its length. It is a popular recreational area given its challenging topography, mix of native bush and pine forest, and ease of access from the city. There are a range of tracks to suit most abilities, some of which connect to other trail areas (Dun Mountain Trail and Richmond Hills) creating opportunity for longer routes.

Access

  15 min from central Nelson

 

All Marsden Valley and Barnicoat Range tracks can be accessed from the end of Marsden Valley Rd, which is a 5 minute drive from Stoke. At the end of Marsden Valley Rd there is a small car park on the right, just before the quarry. Here you will find an information panel with a map and details on trail times and distances. There is also plenty of room to park alongside the road.

 

Logging, and high fire risk in summer will close access.

Background

Barnicoat Range is named after James Wallis Barnicoat (1814-1905), an early Nelson surveyor. Marsden Valley is named after the Marsden family, who established a farm in the valley in the 19th century. It was originally known as Poorman Valley, due to the lower class immigrants who settled on cheap land there in the 1840s. Only the stream that flows through the valley has retained this name.

 

Most of the western side of the range between Stoke and Richmond is used for plantation forestry, though a large part of Jenkins Hill and upper Marsden Valley remains original native bush, comprised of broadleaf podocarp in the lower half of the valley and beech toward the top of the range. The latter is protected within the Marsden Valley Conservation Reserve, whilst the beech forest on the eastern side of Jenkins Hill is protected by the Roding Water Reserve.

 

Biodiversity and conservation have been a focal point in Marsden Valley for several decades. Beyond the road end, the valley floor alongside Poorman Stream has been planted with native trees by primary school students since the 1980s. Since 2007 the area has been the site of a predator control programme run by Marsden Valley Trapping Group. This area area includes the whole upper Marsden Valley, which borders Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary, as well as a few pockets in neighbouring valleys. Trapping efforts have seen a noticeable increase in the presence of bird species such as kererū, weka, fantail and grey warbler. There have even been reported South Island kōkako encounters near the top of the range, around the intersection of Involution and Jenkins Hill Road. Experts have identified probable sign of their presence, though their characteristic elusiveness means there is no concrete evidence to confirm the possibility that there is indeed a small local population surviving somewhere in the depths of the bush.

 

An interesting piece of history in the valley is the weir that used to supply Ngawhatu Hospital with water, which can be found at the end of the Old Weir Track. Another feature worthy of quick observation is the Roding water pipeline, which emerges from a 2.7 km long tunnel beneath the Barnicoat Range. The tunnel and pipeline were built in 1941 to supply Nelson with water from the Roding Dam, and today it still supplies around one third of Nelson’s water. There was also a small coal mining operation on the lower slopes of Jenkins Hill in the latter half of the 19th century, though no evidence of its existence remains today.


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Marsden Valley and Barnicoat Range

Barnicoat Range forms the impressive backdrop behind Stoke and Richmond, rising steeply to more than 500 m elevation for most of its length. It is a popular recreational area given its challenging topography, mix of native bush and pine forest, and ease of access from the city. There are a range of tracks to suit most abilities, some of which connect to other trail areas (Dun Mountain Trail and Richmond Hills) creating opportunity for longer routes.


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

 

Access

  15 min from central Nelson

 

All Marsden Valley and Barnicoat Range tracks can be accessed from the end of Marsden Valley Rd, which is a 5 minute drive from Stoke. At the end of Marsden Valley Rd there is a small car park on the right, just before the quarry. Here you will find an information panel with a map and details on trail times and distances. There is also plenty of room to park alongside the road.

 

Logging, and high fire risk in summer will close access.

Background

Barnicoat Range is named after James Wallis Barnicoat (1814-1905), an early Nelson surveyor. Marsden Valley is named after the Marsden family, who established a farm in the valley in the 19th century. It was originally known as Poorman Valley, due to the lower class immigrants who settled on cheap land there in the 1840s. Only the stream that flows through the valley has retained this name.

 

Most of the western side of the range between Stoke and Richmond is used for plantation forestry, though a large part of Jenkins Hill and upper Marsden Valley remains original native bush, comprised of broadleaf podocarp in the lower half of the valley and beech toward the top of the range. The latter is protected within the Marsden Valley Conservation Reserve, whilst the beech forest on the eastern side of Jenkins Hill is protected by the Roding Water Reserve.

 

Biodiversity and conservation have been a focal point in Marsden Valley for several decades. Beyond the road end, the valley floor alongside Poorman Stream has been planted with native trees by primary school students since the 1980s. Since 2007 the area has been the site of a predator control programme run by Marsden Valley Trapping Group. This area area includes the whole upper Marsden Valley, which borders Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary, as well as a few pockets in neighbouring valleys. Trapping efforts have seen a noticeable increase in the presence of bird species such as kererū, weka, fantail and grey warbler. There have even been reported South Island kōkako encounters near the top of the range, around the intersection of Involution and Jenkins Hill Road. Experts have identified probable sign of their presence, though their characteristic elusiveness means there is no concrete evidence to confirm the possibility that there is indeed a small local population surviving somewhere in the depths of the bush.

 

An interesting piece of history in the valley is the weir that used to supply Ngawhatu Hospital with water, which can be found at the end of the Old Weir Track. Another feature worthy of quick observation is the Roding water pipeline, which emerges from a 2.7 km long tunnel beneath the Barnicoat Range. The tunnel and pipeline were built in 1941 to supply Nelson with water from the Roding Dam, and today it still supplies around one third of Nelson’s water. There was also a small coal mining operation on the lower slopes of Jenkins Hill in the latter half of the 19th century, though no evidence of its existence remains today.

Updated 7 February 2019