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Punk Rock Assault On Windsor Castle, Canterbury

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Punk Rock Assault On Windsor CastleIntermediate

Submitted by Matt Doherty

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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands


2:15 (Slow)
1:30 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)



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The start of the track takes you through a rockfall hazard area which doesn't have any signage at the bottom of the track. Possibly because the track was closed post quakes due to rockfall danger and a new track was put in further around the valley to avoid this area. There are no longer track closed signs or barriers at this entrance, but if this does concern you, you can avoid this 1.5km section and follow the "B" route beginning described at the end.

From the start point at the road follow the creek for a few metres then head up the bank in front of you onto the old disused Captain Thomas track. This has degenerated since it was was moved to a different part of the valley after the Canterbury quakes but it is kept open by locals using it.
The track climbs steeply at first with boulders and slips making it quite technical. After the first short climb the track traverses the hill beneath Punk Rock gaining altitude until you pass a waterfall/bridge. A few meters past this you will climb a small rocky section a couple of meters long (if you come to a gate you have gone too far) Turn right here off the track and follow the fenceline up along the edge of the bluff and above the (often dry) waterfall.

Continue climbing roughly following the creek (you will be on the true right of the creek) until you are high enough to cross the creek and head up to Windsor Castle above most of the bigger bluffs. Windsor Castle will be seen at the top of the hill to your right. Sidle across the hill through tussock using sheep paths & fences if you find some until you are below the Windsor bluff, then head straight up aiming for left of centre for the easiest acess to the top.

On top head over to the trig and check out the 360 views (amusingly, on a clear day you can see Balmoral to the NW) From the trig, stand with your back to the bluff face. Head left for a few meters to a fence, turn right at the fence and follow this to a stock road a 100 or so meters away. Across the road there are 2 gates in front of you. Go through the left gate and look across the valley in front of you to a line of pine trees up on the next ridge, this is where you are aiming for, ignore any other tracks you come across. At the pine trees turn left onto a track and follow the track with marker poles closest to the fence all the way to a stile. Over the stile, sight the big solitary pine in front of you and head for it. From the pine stay on the same trail until you hit the sumit road.

Over the stile, turn right along the trees for 100m, Cross the road, over another stile and pick up the MTB track in front of you (not the farm track) this climbs for a km or so then joins into Greenwoods MTB trail, turn left at this junction and it's a sweet 3.5km downhill to Evans Pass cross roads, last 100m are on tarseal still heading dowhill on the road, immediately before the crossroads pick up the top entrance to Captain Thomas and it's another nice 3km downhill.

From the bottom of the track, head down the steps tp the leaft of teh roundabout, follow round the horse paddock then through the kids playground onto Sumnervale, head along sumnervale to the end the left onto Wakefiel Ave back to the starting point.

"B" Alternative start to route. From the starting point head along Wakefield ave away from Sumner, 1st right Sumnervale Drive, across the playground and round the horse field, up the steps and turn right at the roundabout, head up the new Captain Thomas track (over stile & bridge) for just over 1km. Through the trees and swithcbacks then turn right when you hit the flat track. In a few meters there is a locked gate and danger track closed sign. You are only going on the first 20meters of this track and not to the danger area. Jump the gate and after a few meters you will hit a small rocky descent. Turn left off the track here and join in with the original description.

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Features of interest

Punk Rock & Windsor Castle are 2 bluffs on Richmond hill in Sumner. Punk Rock was a popular rock climbing face, Windsor Castle sits on top of the hill.
Queens Birthday weekend seemed like an apt time to go to Windsor Castle, Punk Rock was thrown in along the way as it is 40 years since Queenies silver jubilie and I'd heard The Sex Pisols God Save The Queen (also 40 years old this month) on the radio the just the other day.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 45%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Sealed Road: 5%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Sumner Half Heads

Sumner Half Heads

Length: 21.60km

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Length: 20.10km

Gates Of The East

Gates Of The East

Length: 14.00km


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  • Access

    Opposite Van Asch school on Wakefield Avenue. Head from Sumnervale Drive back towards Sumner for 100m or so until the houses stop. Continue for a few more meters until you see a creek/drain heading out from the hill. This creek is the start of the trail.

    Head through Sumner along Wakefield Ave. past the 2 rock protection walls on the right hand side until you see Paisley St on your left. Just past Paisley street is Van Asch school. You can park here.
    Purple bus route termination point is by Van Asch school at the end of Wakefield Ave

    14 km

    23 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Generally good.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Water at the horse paddock at the end of the route

    Can be very muddy after rain

    Rockfall hazard particularly around Punk Rock.
    Under runners on the unmarked route portion
    MTBs on the downhills

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