Roding water catchment reserve

If you drive to the end of Aniseed Valley Road, (turn left off the main road to Brightwater at the Hoddy Orchard corner and follow the sign posts for Aniseed Valley) you’ll discover one of Nelson’s less well known reserves but one that provides a fascinating insight into our history and the opportunity for some great walks and tramps.

The Roding Waterworks Reserve not only takes in the dam and pipeline that have been supplying Nelson with water since 1941, but also includes the sites of our old copper mining exploits.


After copper was discovered in the upper Aniseed Valley by Fred Stratford in 1881, two mines and three smelters sprang up in the area. They flourished there for several decades until the copper ore was finally depleted and by 1911 most of the equipment was auctioned off. However some of the larger items were left behind and remain in place today, making interesting features for curious walkers.

By 1938 Nelson City Council had acquired the land and set about constructing the Roding Waterworks Scheme, which officially opened in October 1941. It represented a great feat of engineering, especially the construction of the 2.68 kilometre pipeline through the hill to Marsden Valley. The level of the dam was raised in 1972 to increase capacity and to this day it supplies one third of Nelson city’s annual water needs. As this is still an active catchment, a caretaker is on duty at all times and walkers are asked to take extra care in the area.


The various walking tracks cover a range of terrain from forestry plantations to some fairly rugged native bush. You can choose short walks of about an hour or so with an easy gradient or choose a range of longer hikes, some linking to the Dun Mountain Railway, the Hackett, the Maitai Dam and the Barnicoat Range.

Several new and very interesting information panels have been erected at various special sites throughout the reserve, making an exploratory ramble through the Roding Waterworks Reserve even more enjoyable.