ESA – Medway Valley Heritage Forest


London has seven publicly-owned areas that have been labeled Environmentally Significant Areas or ESAs. We have talked about how great the Sifton Bog is for showing kids the changing seasons, and another great ESA is up in north London, the Medway Valley Heritage Forest.

Medway Valley is one of the three ESA’s in London that have paved areas and are accessible for families from stroller to wheelchair and everything in between. The paved entry way is just to the east of Sunningdale Golf Course on Sunningdale Road. The paved pathway will take you over the Medway Creek and through the Valley where you will find both noises and sights to engage and delight. If you’re quiet, you might be able to see the deer poking through the wood, the muskrats and beavers in the creek, the many different species of birds singing from all directions, and if you go at closer to sunset you will be serenaded by the the frogs!

The paved path ends just before a second serene bridge and the beginning of a wood-chipped trail that turns into a wide dirt path before a third bridge. This section of the trail is fairly easy for children to navigate on their own. Past that point, the trail gets very narrow and steep through the woods, around to another section that ends close to the beginning of the trail through to Fanshawe Park Road and across to the south section of Medway Valley.

The rest of the ESA is not paved and is south of Fanshawe Park Road with many access points throughout. The area is rich with the history of the Attawandaron people and the early European settlers.


• Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
• Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow or white blazes).
• Bicycles are permitted only on the asphalt or crushed gravel paths in Kilally Meadows and Medway Valley Heritage Forest. BICYCLES ARE NOT PERMITTED IN ANY OTHER LOCATIONS.
• Access is allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
• Keep the ESAs litter free.
• All pets must be on leash (2 m/6 ft max.).
• Do not feed fish or wildlife.
• Releasing or dumping fish or wildlife of any kind is prohibited.
• Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.
See additional rules on signs at ESA entrances.

For maps and more information, see HERE.

Get Outside the Box


When is the last time you and your family stepped outside the box? What box? The box that you live in, of course!

Get Outside the Box (GOB) is a local group that organizes outdoor hikes for parents and kids to connect while experiencing and exploring their environment.

The hikes are the first Sunday of the month, weather permitting. The location changes each time and are guided by GOB leaders. They organize hikes throughout the whole year, all seasons. What a great way to explore our beautiful city!

So, feel like getting outside the box? LIKE them on Facebook and stay tuned for the next great adventure!

The Sifton Bog

Sifton Bog

When I first proposed a trip to the Sifton Bog, my children were less than enthusiastic about going. What could possibly be exciting about wandering down a trail in the middle of the city to a little patch of water? As it turned out – everything! They were won over by the sounds, sights, and peacefulness of our mid-autumn adventure. We spent a lot of time looking for the winter home-building of creatures, tracks left by animals, different insects, and of course the many, many plants and trees. At the pond there were frogs and turtles to play with while I sat back and enjoyed being outside the city, inside the city.

The Sifton Bog is a gorgeous little London treasure just off Oxford Street between Hyde Park Road and Sanatorium Road, accessible for the whole family from stroller to grandparents.The Bog is a protected wetland which is home to many plants and animals that are hard to come by in the more urban parts of our beautiful city. A 370m boardwalk leads you from the parking lot through the wooded area and the open bog to the small pond, rich with both wildlife and history. For the more adventurous, there are also 2.5km of trails through the bog. Whether you are heading there to learn or just to escape, the Bog is a definite winner for all ages.

Have you been to the Sifton Bog? Did your family enjoy it?