Ashley is a quiet village on the banks of the Ashley River, just minutes away from its busy neighbour, Rangiora.

The picturesque Ashley River looks very inviting on a bright summer’s day and locals make the most of the swimming holes and picnic spots along the willow-lined banks.

Victorian and Edwardian Market Day is the big annual occasion for the village, a fun-filled get together in the church grounds in late summer.

Outdoor adventure is never far away, with Ashley Forest right on the back doorstep and the big local challenge is to knock off the summits of Mounts Grey, Karetu and Thomas. The Ashley Forest is tailor-made for mountain biking and horse trekking and fine weekends see tough adventurers accelerating downhill on wobbly wheels or riding high on the hoof. Experienced horse riders compete with each other on extended treks and beginners amble along on sybaritic rides and stop for lunch at a favourite lookout point.

Sefton is a pleasant village just to the north of Ashley, surrounded by small farms and rural lifestyle blocks.

The pancake-flat plains in this area attract road cycling enthusiasts, who regularly flash past, travelling from Rangiora to Ashley Forest and back.

The beaches of Pegasus Bay are only minutes away across S.H.1, with swimming at Leithfield and sea fishing at the Ashley River mouth. Summers here can sizzle up to the high 30’s centigrade. Autumn has mild temperatures and brings out a stunning display of seasonal colours. Spring bursts out in exotic flowers, vivid green pastures and a myriad of frolicking lambs.

Inland is the impressive Puketeraki Range and beyond, Arthur’s Pass National Park rises up to the main divide of the Southern Alps. Where the Ashley River enters the plains, there is a great variety of tramping tracks. The Wooded Gully, Blowhard and Richardson tracks, lead upwards to remote wilderness areas that seem a million miles away from the bustle of Rangiora and Kaiapoi.