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Outdoor Hiking Trails in London, Ontario – Medway Valley Heritage Forest


  • By Tourism London

Truly a nature lovers dream! Nestled in North London close to Western University, this wilderness area offers a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.  The mixture of rustic walkways and established trails allow you to take an adventure through the thick of nature and be able to experience a wide arrangement of terrain. 

The floodplain forests, swamps, marshes, and wooded valley slopes provide the perfect hideaway for wildlife, including lots of birds singing away.  If you're quiet enough during your walk you might even be able to spot a white-tailed deer poking around the woods! 

Tag your adventures with #LdnGem on your social pages to be featured on the Tourism London website!
 

Opportunities for Education


Did you know that over 500 years ago the valley was occupied by the "Ontario Iroquois tribe of about 1000 in numbers. The Neutral Indian Village stood on a bluff overlooking Snake Creek and the Medway River, which is now the site of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The rest of the valley was used for food gathering, hunting and fishing by the tribe," (Naturally Elgin, The Medway Heritage Valley).  
 
Fast forward to the early 20th century, the The Elsie Perrin Williams Estate became property of the City of London with its manicured park setting that once included a golf course (Naturally Elgin, The Medway Heritage Valley).  Now the estate is surrounded by 68 acres of beautifully maintained parkland that allows special occasions & event guests to be able to step back into an era of elegance and grace (Heritage London Foundation).
 

TEACHING OPPORTUNITY 

 

Life systems and living things are an important part of any forest!  Explore the shared space where there is lots of plant life, animals and the chance to chat about how humans, past and present, engage in the space.  Ask your children if they can find any animals homes, or if there are any plants that they think might have been gathered by a forager.  
 
Can you find a maple tree?  Once you do, you can talk about maple syrup and the collection process in today's world and then ask how they think this process was completed in the past.  For your own reference point "the sap would have been collected in birch bark containers and then been processed into syrup or sugar by constant heating to evaporate the water in sap. Kettles and other technologies were adopted once they became more accessible through trade with European settlers," (Museum of Ontario Archaeology, A Rich History of the Maple Harvest). 
 
If you want to explore this topic further, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology often host a wide arrangement of events, including an annual pow wow. Check out their website here for upcoming events.
 

BROCHURES & ACTIVITY

View a digital copy of the trail map here: http://thamesriver.on.ca/wp-content/uploads//ESAs/2019-MedwayESA-brochure.pdf

BINGO! Check out ReForest London's BINGO sheet that can be used for any of London's walks or hikes. Print it at home and use it in your neighbourhood (or wherever it's safe to wander outside)!  DOWNLOAD HERE.

Looking for other trails and information about natural spaces in London, Ontario? CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.



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