The Wairarapa Journal Summer 17/18

Page 52

Nature fix Story and photography by Rebecca Jamieson

Summer is a great season to explore nature. If you’re short on time, urban bush reserves are perfect for getting a quick nature fix. Masterton local Rebecca Jamieson discovers these special places, and how they can benefit our well being.

those with little time or limited transport options. That’s why urban reserves are so vital. They allow you to fit a quick walk in your lunch hour, between appointments, over a busy weekend, or after school with the kids. So where in Wairarapa can you get your nature

There is something almost magical about

fix? As well as Millennium Reserve, Masterton’s

small urban bush reserves. They remind me of a

Manuka Reserve in Lansdowne is a favourite of mine,

scene from The Secret Garden. High walls hide an

and puts on an amazing display of white lacebark

oasis of nature in the middle of town. Masterton’s

flowers at certain times of the year. The reserve

Millennium Reserve is one of my favourites. Beyond

connects onto one of the Masterton Recreation

the fortress of trees are meandering trails, pure

Trails leading back to Fourth Street - making it the

water springs, joyful bird song, and a rich diversity

perfect interlude to a longer walk.

of plant life.

Greytown has the Soldiers Memorial Park where

I explored the reserve recently with my son

the grand old totara trees stand guard over the play

John. We stopped along the track to admire the

area and campground. Take a short walk through

abundance of bright yellow kowhai flowers and

the neighbouring O’Connor’s Bush and you’ll find

delicate red kakabeak. John climbed trees and

rangiora leaves as large as dinner plates.

searched for bugs in the stream, while I admired

Featherston is spoilt for choice. Featherston

the view and the song of a grey warbler. I felt calm

Domain provides an energetic climb, rewarded with

and rejuvenated.

views of the town below and the Wairarapa Moana

We emerged back out onto the street as a car

beyond. Or you can take a short walk around Barr-

rushed past. I was quickly transported from the

Brown Bush Reserve, just down the road. Dorset

tranquility of the reserve back to busy urban life.

Square is also worth a visit to see the acrobatic

Nature has a way of doing that - taking you away

troupe of tui who love the plentiful kowhai trees.

from the business of life and leaving you feeling

Though you won’t find any urban bush reserves

more rested. In fact, it’s proven that walking in

in Carterton and Martinborough, a quick stroll

nature benefits not only our physical wellbeing, but

through Carterton’s Carrington Park or along

also our mental health.

Martinborough’s Palliser Vineyard Walk is just as

A study led by Chiba University in Japan compared the effects of a 15 minute walk in a forest setting with those of an inner city walk. The study found the forest walkers showed a lower level of cortisol, the stress hormone, compared to the city walkers. But access to forested areas is challenging for

good. Or you could explore a bit further afield and visit Fensham or Carter Scenic Reserves. Now you know where to find your local ‘Secret Garden’ - get out and explore! A special thanks to local councils and the hard working community groups who look after these precious green urban spaces.

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