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Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve

The Trail

Download the Trail Guide here (PDF file, 1.1 Mb).

Walking The Oxbow Trail

The Oxbow Trail is a 0.5 km loop around a section of the Don River that was severed during construction of the Don Valley Parkway in the early 1960s. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes to walk the trail and enjoy some of its natural features.

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1. Woodland Entrance

Begin your walk by entering the lowland forest behind the Don Train Station entrance. The tree canopy here is mainly crack willow and Manitoba maple. We are gradually replacing these with native trees such as sugar maple and red oak. On the forest floor, trilliums and bloodroot provide a spectacular flowering display for a few weeks in spring before the trees leaf out.

2. The Pond

From the viewing stand you can see the pond which was constructed in 1994 by enhancing and deepening a natural depression. This area has a cattail marsh, and the edges of the pond have been planted with sedges, blue flag iris and many other wetland plants and shrubs. Dragonflies, frogs and fish have colonized the pond.

3. The Swamp

As you cross the long boardwalk, you enter a forested wetland created by seepage from springs on the slopes. Look for white cedar, black ash, ferns and dogwoods—all of which like "wet feet".

4. The Upland Forest

After a short ascent you reach upland forest on top of a knoll. The soil here is drier, and favours white ash and sugar maple trees.

5. The Oxbow

From the stairs you get a good view of the Don River oxbow below. The oxbow is spring-fed and does not dry out in summer.

6. The Meadow

The trail now rises up the west side of the oxbow to a meadow. The meadow is especially colourful in late summer and fall when cup plant, wild bergamot, goldenrod and asters are in bloom.

7. The Step-pool Channel

As you end your walk at the parking lot, have a look at the step-pool channel at the south-east corner of the bridge. Together with the swale (ditch) planted with grasses and shrubs, the pools slow down and cleanse contaminated stormwater which drains off the parking lot.