King Edward Park - Stratford
Walk status: Off-lead
Easter weekend seemed like the perfect time for a mini day trip to explore some more of South Taranaki - Stratford seemed like a great first stopover to stretch the legs and let George burn off some steam. Unless you're willing to read through council bylaws and policies, you may be forgiven for not knowing that Stratford is actually quite accepting of dogs being off-lead. With the exception of the usual places like children's playgrounds and public footpaths. I've put a link to the policy at the bottom of the page if you want to see exactly where you can't go off-lead.
We arrived at King Edward Park at the main entrance gate which is on the corner of Fenton Street and Portia Street. There are a few options to enter the park from here, but if you're unfamiliar with the area, as we were then its best to head through the main gates onto the gravel pathway and follow that.
As you round the corner, you'll have the option of heading straight ahead or crossing the swing bridge. George is never a big fan of these, but even he seemed keen to cross this one, although got the wobbles half way across and needed mums encouragement to keep going! After heading over the swing bridge, we headed right along a well shaded bush track referenced as Three Bridges Trail.
Crossing over the green bridge, it gave us the option to take another walking track referenced as Western Loop - not knowing where we would end up, we stayed straight ahead, but there are many options to try in this park if you have lots of free time to explore the many pathways. We soon reached a second bridge which crosses over the Patea River, and has some steps you can use to reach the water, although quite rocky in that spot so probably not ideal for doggie swimming.
At this point, the track forks, for now we headed up the hill and popped out at the Breacon Road entrance. There is a well positioned poop bag dispenser and rubbish bin at this entrance, but its worth commenting that Stratford has really impressed me with how well thought out the bin placements are. It's a pet peeve of mine to pick up Georges poo and then have to carry it with me the entire length of the walk, and often find there isn't even a rubbish bin at the main entrance. No chance of that here, disposing of your dogs poop is well catered for, meaning you can be a responsible dog owner and dispose of it with no excuses.
Reaching Breacon Road, we headed back into the park, following the track to the right which leads to a large open grass area referenced as Rhododendron Dell. George had to have a spaz out moment, enjoying a hoon around and then it was time to head back into the bush and down the track to the left of the Dell sign. This track then leads you back to where you crossed the Patea River. Follow your same path back now, back across the second bridge until you get to another fork in the track.
You can continue straight following the same path you came in on, or for something different head up the small hill as we did to walk alongside the rugby field. If you walk the edge of the rugby field staying left when you exit the bush track, you'll see a doggie poop bin at the opposite end. At this point, re-enter the bush and take the first track on your right - its a small and overgrown one but it opens up a bit further along. This track takes you alongside the rugby field and eventually winds along beside Page Street. The track forks again at this point, but we continued going straight, past another entrance option to the park and further along the bush pathway which soon ended at a kids playground area.
Once you arrive at the kids playground, remember dogs must be on lead here, and you're nearing the end of the loop so id suggest just keep them on at this point. Follow the concrete path that runs past the playground until you reach the red bridge. Crossing this bridge brings you back to the corner of the two roads and where you initially parked.
This was such an enjoyable walk, well shaded for a bit of autumn sunshine and lots of smells and exciting things for George to explore. We have lots of pathways through here that we didn't try, so we will definitely plan to visit again soon.
You can find details about Stratford Councils dog policy here
Location: Corner of Fenton and Portia Street, Stratford
Plenty of parking at the main entrance and surrounding side streets
Things to know:
There are no public toilets here
There is a children's playground located on the River Walk
There are multiple entrances to the park available via the surrounding side streets