Explore the wild beauty of Westminster Ponds, nestled on 200 hectares and considered an “environmentally significant area” (ESA). It’s the biggest publicly owned ESA in the London area, known for its great size and diversity of natural habitats. Largely a wetland, you’ll find it via Commissioners Road just east of Wellington Road, tucked against the Tourist Information Centre.
Explore the three major, managed trails featuring gentle slopes with a few steeper hills. Most trails are made of clay soil, which can be muddy, so plan accordingly. Only a few boardwalks are available. The original settlers were European farmers, and by the 1940s a number of residencies were constructed nearby. However, the wetlands remained undeveloped as they were earmarked as federal property during the construction boom.
The Wild Side
Visitors will find five large ponds as well as a beaver pond flanked by rich habitats. Over half of all local plant species are within the ESA. At Spettigue Pond, there’s a small bog habitat which is rare in this part of Ontario. Look for leatherleaf and tamarack in the peat as well as red maples, silver maples, yellow birch and American elms.
Watch for over 200 types of birds including a number of migrants like thrushes, finches and warblers. In the summer months, the Great Crested Flycatcher is common along with the Great Horned Owl. Mammals include deer, beavers and coyotes. Bring your hiking boots, a picnic and enjoy this Ontario gem.