The Great Taste Trail south of Richmond connects the villages of Brightwater and Wakefield, and passes through attractive vineyards and farmland along the way. It is known as the Railway Section as it follows the former alignment of the historic Nelson-Glenhope Railway for much of its length.
|Length: 18.9 km||Time Required: 1 hr – 1 hr 30 min by MTB|
|Trail Type: Unsealed pathway||Physical Difficulty: Easy|
|Uses: Walking, running and MTB||Primary Direction: Either|
|Links to: Great Taste Trail: Richmond to Mapua|
As it links directly to Nelson’s network of urban routes, namely Whakatu Coastal Pathway and Railway Reserve Pathway, most Nelson residents can access the trail directly from home with little requirement for on-road travel.
For trail users doing a return trip to Brightwater or Wakefield, there are suitable car parks at Champion Road (next to Tasman Aquatic Centre) and Lower Queen Street (next to McDonalds). If you are doing the trail in the opposite direction (heading toward Richmond), there is plenty of street parking in both Brightwater and Wakefield. In Wakefield there is a public car park in the town centre on Whitby Way. See map for parking locations.
The trail begins at the sign-posted junction with the Richmond-Mapua section of the Great Taste Trail, close to Reservoir Creek underpass beneath Richmond Deviation (opposite Tasman Aquatic Centre). It heads south alongside Richmond Deviation, before crossing Lower Queen Street. Lower Queen Street can be very busy, so take care when crossing. The trail continues alongside Jubilee Park and passes beneath the State Highway 60 over-bridge, one of only two bridges that were built over the railway line.
The trail continues south in a straight line through vineyards for 1.5 km to Ranzau Road, at which point it deviates from the original railway alignment, continuing instead on the northern side of Ranzau Road. The 1.2 km stretch to Pugh Road is sealed for a short distance before turning to gravel. The trail turns south onto Pugh road. After 2.4 km Pugh Road drops down an old river terrace and the trail continues off the road end to Waimea River, where a suspension bridge crosses to the true left side. The trail continues alongside the river to Bryant Road in Brightwater.
A short distance down Bryant road the trail turns left down a pedestrian access way to Somerville Lane, and then crosses Ellis Street. Ellis Street is the main street of Brightwater, and here you will find cafes, art galleries and shops. The trail turns right down Charlotte Lane, and back onto the original railway alignment, which is a grassed corridor through residential properties. The trail follows this corridor across Starveall Street and through to State Highway 6, where an underpass connects to Lord Rutherford Road. The Sir Ernest Rutherford Birthplace monument is located just to the right of the underpass, across Lord Rutherford Rd.
The trail again leaves the former rail alignment, and instead runs alongside Lord Rutherford Road (which becomes Higgins Road) for 4.8 km, before reaching the road end. The one kilometre section through to Edward Street passes through pasture and through a small grove of totara. The trail follows the south side of Edward Street for the remaining few hundred metres to Wakefield.
Brightwater and Wakefield are of similar size and also have similar amenities and services. Both have cafes, a pub and a small supermarket. There are several wineries within a short deviation from the trail in Brightwater (see Wine Nelson website). There are public toilets located in Hope (Hope Community Centre), Brightwater and Wakefield.