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Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve

Designated as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), Kinghurst Forest is a special place that offers the naturalist a rare glimpse into Ontario’s natural past.

Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve © Noah Cole

About

The rustle of maple leaves in the wind far above your head and the smell of wild leek below your feet are only a few of the delights you will encounter at the Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve. This 371-hectare (916 acres) nature reserve in Grey County contains a remarkable, mature maple-beech forest that is a rare example of pre-settlement woodlands in southern Ontario.

Designated as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), Kinghurst Forest is a special place that offers the naturalist a rare glimpse into Ontario’s natural past.

Kinghurst forest and maidenhair ferns © Noah Cole

History

In early 1997, Howard H. Krug made a landmark bequest of 242 hectares of Kinghurst Forest to Ontario Nature. A keen and well-respected conservationist, Mr. Krug took great care in managing the Krug family lands. During that same period, Ontario Nature purchased 39 hectares of old pasture and swamp land connected to the bequest.

Bruce Krug passed away in May 2013 leaving a legacy gift of a 61-hectare expansion and a stewardship endowment to help manage the property in perpetuity. Thanks to his generosity, this valuable land will be protected forever. Together with his late brother, Howard, Bruce won the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Conservation Award of Distinction in 2003 – a testament to their extensive work and achievements in land protection and stewardship, as well as their love of nature.

Bruce and Howard Krug © Willy Waterton

Expansion

The Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve expanded further thanks to a 16-hectare gift from Dianne Fahselt. The addition, affectionately dubbed “the north 40,” brings the total area of the reserve to 358 hectares. The cabin, near the “north 40” remains private family-owned property, so please respect their privacy.

Meadow and mature forest © Mark Carabetta

Plants and Animals

Many of the trees are 250 to 300 years old, tower over 30 meters high, and clearly show the vertical stratification characteristic of a true, old-growth forest.

A spectacular show of wildflowers greets visitors in the spring, as do provincially rare plants such as Hart’s-tongue fern.

Part of the Kinghurst West Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, the “north 40” property consists largely of upland forest dominated by sugar maple, with patches of beech and hemlock throughout.

Ontario Nature plans to update the species inventory, conduct vegetation mapping and develop a property management plan, which will be carried out under the stewardship of the Saugeen Nature.

Eastern bluebird © Brendan Toews

Visiting

Parking can be found on Concession 4 at the second gate on the west side of the road. Here you can access the Krug Trail (3.6km), which runs the entire length of the property, or walk south along Concession 4 to access the Old Growth Trail.

From Concession 6, you can also enter the main trail through the pedestrian entrance on the right of the red gate.

Vernal pool © Gabe Camozzi

Directions

To visit Kinghurst Forest, follow Highway 6 north from Durham to Dornoch and turn west onto County Road 25. Travel about five kilometers to Concession 4 and turn north. The road passes several pasture fields and starts to curve, with trees closing in on either side. On the west side of the road, you will see the first of two gates. Beyond this gate is the entrance to the Old Growth Trail (2.5km) that runs to Concession 6.

You may also enter from the west side of the property. Proceed north on Concession 6 (a few kilometres west of Concession 4). Just past a side road on your left is a driveway marked by an Ontario Nature sign that leads to an enclosed parking area with a cedar fence and red gate. Please park to the right of the driveway and avoid blocking the entrance.

View Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve in a larger map.

Aphrodite fritillary butterfly, Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve © Jerry Asling

Spring peeper, Kinghurst Nature Reserve © Gabe Camozzi

Photos