Volunteer trail building

Are you a keen mountain biker or walker who wants to add a new trail to Wellington’s off-road network in our reserves?

First steps

Check if a trail is already planned

Check out the trails we are planning to build in our Open Space Access Plan (4.14MB PDF) – the most relevant pages are Key initiatives (page 21) and Implementation plan (page 57).

Find out if you can build a new trail

If there are no trails planned for the area you are interested in, contact us to talk about your ideas. They will be able to tell you if:

  • your trail idea is likely to be viable
  • you have permission to build in this area
  • what the guidelines are
  • whether you will need any consents.


Working with other trail building volunteers

We encourage you to work with a trail building group to gain experience and understanding.

Volunteers tend to spend a couple of hours digging at weekends, after work or even during lunch breaks.

List of community trail building groups

Wellington has many community groups involved in building trails, and the Council support many of these groups. Here are a few examples:

Support and guidelines

We can supply drawings of trail structures. They outline the types of trail structures you can build that don’t need a building consent.

These guidelines will help you to build trails that are accessible, sustainable, and have a low impact on the environment.

Our Open Spaces Project Manager can provide these drawings.

Important principles for building trails

There are three key principles to think about when building trails in ourreserves: accessibility, sustainability and environmentally friendly.

Accessible trails

Trails should be built so they are usable to the majority of people.

However, the classification / grade of the trail is what defines the type of user the trail should be accessible to. The classification or grade is determined in the planning process before building starts. Usually trails are for shared use by mountain bikers, recreational walkers and trail runners. However, the city does have bike-priority trails which are aimed at mountain bike use.

Sustainable trails

A sustainable trail is one that is long lasting and efficient to maintain. There is more information on sustainable trails in the Open Spaces Access Plan (4.14KB PDF).

Environmentally-friendly trails

A trail should have low impact on the environment. This means it:

  • has minimal disturbance on native plants and animals
  • any disturbance that does occur is easily mitigated
  • avoids acutely threatened ecosystems or habitats
  • avoids the impact of earthworks on stream environments.

Contact us

David Halliday, Open Spaces Project Manager
Phone: 04 803 8890
Email: david.halliday@wcc.govt.nz