A Walk in Scott and Phillipa Innes’ Bush–8 November 2015

The week of 1-8 November was Conservation Week and the theme for this year was “Healthy Nature Healthy People.” Dozens of events around the country were held to encourage people to get outside, discover new places and to experience the power of nature to invigorate, refresh, and amaze us and be beneficial for body and mind.

On 8 November, with the help of the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and many volunteers, The Forest Bridge Trust advisor Scott Innes and his wife Phillipa, hosted a community walk in the magnificent native bush on their property.  Scott’s bush is a prime example of the sorts of mature bush on working farms that The Forest Bridge Trust seeks to protect, enhance and connect.

It was great to see a lot of familiar faces and also meet lots of wonderful new people.1The plan for the day was to take a guided walk through the bush followed by some country hospitality.  The first task was to haul up the quad bike that would transport the afternoon tea into the bush!2We greeted guests at the woolshed and gave them a safety checklist and briefing and had them sign an indemnity form.  Forest Bridge Trustees and advisors Kevin & Gill Adshead, John & Geraldine Taylor, Liz Maire and Shona Myers joined Scott and Phillipa to greet the guests and answer any questions about the Forest Bridge Trust.34Over thirty people joined us for the walk which was guided by our local botanist extraordinaire Maureen Young and neighbouring farm forester and  keen botanist, Gordon Perry.

There was a lot to see on the walk and some amazing views.  The guests got a good panoramic view of Scott’s bush from the end of the airstrip.5

And then took the walk down (and up) for a closer look.

6Here is a view from the top of the property looking south, with Atuanui in the background and to the right.  In the left background is bush on Tony Rodger’s property, for which the Forest Bridge Trust is seeking funding for fencing.  In the foreground is Scott’s bush and several other bush remnants—lots of fencing to do!7The previous week, Kevin and Scott, along with Chris Floyd of the QEII trust, Gordon Perry and John Lambert did a recon and mapped out a route for today’s walk.   Unfortunately Chris and John couldn’t be with us for the walk today.8It wasn’t the easiest of walks through the bush as there is no formed track but there were some great things to see.

Here is a patch of tutukiwi, or green hooded orchids.9

And some New Zealand clematis:


Here is Maureen showing Scott and Phillippa’s  two girls, Mary and Lucy, some tutukiwi when we did our recon walk.

11Mary and Lucy are now budding botanists! They were at a birthday party so didn’t join us for the walk this time but came in time for afternoon tea.12

Here is John Lambert explaining an interesting bit of New Zealand botany.

13Maureen explains how to identify different types of tree ferns.  She was delighted to spot a Dicksonia tree fern on our recon trip.  The Dicksonia tree fern usually grows in colder climates but is found in a few isolated areas in Northland – Scott’s bush is one of them!16Gill and Phillipa (with the help of the quad bike) had set up afternoon tea in a beautiful spot near the Hoteo River.14The country hospitality included scones with jam and cream (whipped during the bumpy trip from the woolshed on the trailer), chocolate brownies, chocolate chip biscuits, sultana cake, passionfruit cake, lemon slice, gluten free  muffins .

Drinks included homemade lemon cordial, tea and coffees of various sorts supplied by Nestle NZ.

1515We want to thank everyone who came along for a great day of exploring New Zealand native bush and for their contributions to our fencing efforts.  And a big thank you to Scott and Phillipa for hosting the day.  Also, we’d like to thank Julia Watson of the Auckland Botanic Gardens who shared her photos of the day, some of which have been included in this report.

The Forest Bridge Trust is committed to assisting farmers and landowners to fence and protect valuable bush like the one  we explored today.