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The Styx Mill Conservation Reserve
Spot native species in their natural habitat. Wander through nature close to the city.
The Styx Mill Conservation Reserve provides a haven for birds and plants along the Styx River just north of Christchurch.
The reserve covers around 57 hectares following the river for a little over a kilometre and a half. Despite its close proximity to the city, the reserve offers a quiet natural environment where visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll.
The area was first cultivated by Maori tribes as its wetlands, and easy access to the sea made it a good place to find food and cultivate flax. When European settlers came to the area, the land was used for sheep farming while the river was used to power waterwheels for sawmills, flax mills, and flourmills.
It came into public ownership in the 1970s and today the community plays a large part in maintaining the reserve.
There are 10 species of freshwater fish in the river of which just one, the brown trout, has been introduced. Many need easy access to the sea for spawning, making the reserve an important area in maintaining these species. It is believed nearly 50 different bird species are also present in the reserve including many wetland birds that are losing habitats elsewhere due to development.
The reserve offers a pleasant place to stroll in peace while a special dog park provides a safe place to exercise dogs away from the main paths.
The park is open from 7am to 6.30pm in winter and until 9pm during daylight saving.
Styx Mill Road, Christchurch-CityView Larger Map