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Thorp Bush, Motueka

Just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of High Street in Motueka, you'll discover a tranquil wonderland, Thorp Bush.

(Note that the spelling of the name can be problematic. Road signs point to Thorps Bush and Thorp Bush, and Google Maps calls it Thorpes Bush. We'll stick with what's on the TDC official website.)

Tasman District Council information says it covers over 4½ hectares, and it includes the largest remnant of lowland podocarp - hardwood forest that once covered the Motueka Plain, making it a very special place in terms of conservation.

Thorp Bush is situated on Woodlands Avenue, just one short block down from High Street and beside the New World supermarket. In fact, we're told this road actually runs through the south western corner of the Reserve. It's interesting to know that timber was milled from this area in times gone by but luckily some excellent tree specimens remain.

As well as entering the reserve at its "front door" from Woodlands Ave, there is also easy access from Avalon Court (beside the Equestrian Motel, off Taylor Ave) and from the walkway past the Sanderlane subdivision from the Recreation Centre.

The large number of trees provides ample shade for a picnic, even on the hottest days. There are picnic tables, toilet facilities and a great adventure playground that we often take our grandkids to, so it's a wonderful place to spend a day relaxing with the family.

The trees (particularly the totaras) around and behind this picnic area also also are home to many tui, and the air is always full of their piping and barking calls or territorial residency, particularly in the walmer months.

Thorp Bush has a number of flat, well maintained walking tracks meandering through the trees and you'll see and hear a variety of bird life if you take the time to explore them. Tui abound, and you can hear them singing away specially later in the afternoon or early evening. Within seconds of entering it, you move from the bustle and hum of town activity to the sense of being in a distant native forest. And within the bush there are also several cleared spaces for private picnics or just to relax in peace.

TDC says the forest remnant on the Reserve is extremely valuable in conservation terms. It supports kahikatea, titoki, totara, matai, kowhai, tarata, kaikomato, ti tree and what is thought to the last remaining specimen of white maire in the Motueka District.

Council manages the Reserve and their contractor Sicon handles all the maintenance, mowing and gardening. It's a spacious reserve with lots of shady, private areas and you can happily enjoy a relaxed break in the peaceful atmosphere of Thorp Bush.

THe history goes like this: The bulk of the reserve was vested to Council in 1952 from the estate of F.W. Thorp. A small section at the eastern edge became part of the Reserve much later in 1993.

The Thorp family has a long association with Motueka. Charles Thorp arrived there in 1842 on the ship Olympia, having bought his land from a map in London. He married and raised a family but sadly only one of his three children survived into adulthood. Frederick William (F.W.) Thorp went on to become Mayor of Motueka Borough from 1904 till 1911 when he died aged fifty. His widow and their two daughters, Helen and Ethel stayed on at the family estate until the 1950's. As well as the land that was gifted to Council, another area was purchased by the Golf Club around that time.

If you have a favourite thing you like to do - a walking place, attraction, quiet spot - so the rest of us can check it out and enjoy it too, please tell us about it here.