Woodville found its name from being part of the vast Seventy Mile Bush. Woodville's place in European migration history was established when it became the third of three sizeable timber milling towns in the 'Seventy Mile Bush' - which extended along the eastern side of the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges. The others were Dannevirke and Pahiatua.
It appears that Woodville was also a traveller's rest spot in history. It was a place to rest for hunters as they walked from one side of the Manawatu Gorge to the other. Woodville still remains a pivotal stop-over place for travellers.
Contractors camped in an area that became known as The Junction - providing a link to Hawke's Bay, Manawatu and the Wairarapa. Sections were advertised in Napier in 1874 and the transient bush fellers, road contractors, bridge builders and speculators gave way to businesses and settlers.
Woodville is the gateway to the spectacular Manawatu Gorge which is flanked by the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges and is unique in having between these ranges a State Highway, the Manawatu River and a railway. One interesting local landmark is Whariti (920m - 2950ft), one of the main peaks in the Ruahine Ranges near Woodville.
Woodville continues to host a successful horse-racing, rearing and training industry, based at the Woodville Pahiatua Racing Club. The name Woodville and outstanding achievements in New Zealand horse racing are synonymous. The foothills of the Ruahine and Tararua mountain ranges are to the west of Woodville, and they now host New Zealand's largest wind farm, which was established in the early 1990s and continues to expand. Meridian Energy's Te Apiti wind farm is located on Saddle Road.
Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer lived in Woodville from 1890. For the next 36 years, Lindauer painted many portraits in his Pinfold Road studio. Lindauer is part of the history of Woodville and is buried in the Old Gorge Cemetery. Lindauer museum is located on Vogel street and holds examples of his work and staff are knowledgeable on his history with the district.
Fountaine Square in Ormond Street is a historic landmark gifted by T.F Fountaine in 1896. The Band Rotunda (early 1900's) is popular with musicians. The children's playground, public toilets and doggie loo are all surrounded by heritage trees.
Being halfway between Wellington and Napier, Woodville is the ideal stopover for the traveller. Serviced well with cafes, restaurants and speciality shops it's an ideal place to stop and browse - especially if you're into antiques, knick-knacks and crafts - so stop on route and visit. Most shops are open 7 days a week.
Woodville has its own community radio station, which can be heard on 99.6FM.
If tramping is more your style, Woodville boasts a good number of walking tracks from short walks to longer tramps.