Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Bushy Breathtaking Branch Rd

Ashhurst, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Rosie Rochester

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 15 ?

Gnarl Factor: 23 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







The scenic walkway follows the route of an abandoned country road route that links the Pohangina Village with Ridge Road.

On Kuku Rd you start at the signpost for Branch Rd by climbing over the first of 14 stiles. Follow the Green wooden signs with yellow arrows. Throughout the trail you will just continue to follow these or white markers. You will be passing through pine plantations and some steep but short climbs. At times the trail is extremely skinny with roots underfoot. The track then crosses into lush green native bush with tree ferns, beech and regenerating shrubs.

At 3km you climb a stile and you then start the next 3km farm section that continues on to Ridge Road. The track ascends gradually through open farmland and on a clear day you will enjoy extensive views of the valley below and out over to the Ruahine Ranges for as far as the eye can see. The views are breathtaking. Depending on if stock have been grazing recently there can be a fair amount of poop to avoid and a 1km section that has some large areas of mud year round. In winter it can be particularly slow going and if you're not careful you may well have a shoe swallowed by the mud monsters!

The final stile to climb welcomes you to Ridge Rd, your highest point & turnaround spot. There's a signpost and information board there, its a beautiful spot for a snack while enjoying the views. The run back is pretty much all downhill and is around 15 minutes quicker.

This trail follows the route of an abandoned County road linking Pohangina with Ridge road. In 1948 explorer William Colenso with two Maori guides followed this route on his trek from Hawkes Bay to Lake Taupo.

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16 km

13 minutes




Generally good.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone

None, bring your own

A 1km section from around 3-4km in is very muddy in winter.

A few sections have narrow trail and steep drop offs.

Trail Legend

Raewyn Peters

Raewyn Peters

has completed Bushy Breathtaking Branch Rd once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

I loved this track, a random tucked away gem. Great surface for running and the hills were easily runnable.

Zavana McAffer

May 23, 2022

A great run through a mix of forestry, native bush and farmland. Some good wide tracks, with a good surface for running on. A good, gentle gradient which makes it very runnable on the uphill, and good for getting some speed up on the descent. Well sign posted, with easy to spot kilometre markers, and numbering on the stiles (all 14 of them!) to help keep track of progress. Looking forward to running this one again.

Suzannah Toulmin

May 9, 2021

Great trail for a recovery run or when you want to feel like you've done something decent without having to go too hard. Lovely view at the top and nice easy trails with soft surface underfoot.

Holly Barclay

March 27, 2021

I loved this track. Great surface for running and the hills were a gentle gradient easily runnable. The few steeper parts zig zagged up to keep the runnable gradient. Coming down could be very fast if you wanted a good blast. Nice mix of forest, bush and farmland with great views.

Kirstine Collins

August 1, 2020

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