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Willoughby Nature Reserve

Blanketing more than half of this rolling land is a mature forest of mixed hardwoods and softwoods.

Silver Creek, Willoughby Nature Reserve @ Maya Davidson


Hike among cedar trees and listen to the bubbling Silver Creek at the Willoughby Nature Reserve, a 50-hectare (123-acre) property tucked into the beautiful Caledon Hills. This nature reserve was generously donated to Ontario Nature by the late Nordica Willoughby.

Two branches of Silver Creek, a tributary of the Credit River, have carved valleys into the property’s undulating landscape. The surrounding Caledon Hills form part of the western end of the Oak Ridges Moraine – an enormous legacy of the last glaciation.

Willoughby Nature Reserve © Maya Davidson


As of 2021, Headwaters Nature is the official stewards of the nature reserve. Headwaters Nature is taking on invasive species management, trail maintenance, events and much more.

If you are interested in assisting or joining the club, please email info@headwatersnature.ca.

To learn more about volunteering as a nature reserve steward, please see our Volunteer Stewardship webpage.

Restoration event along Silver Creek © Melissa Thomas

Plants and Animals

More than half of this rolling land is blanketed by a mature forest of mixed hardwoods and softwoods. In the spring, beautiful displays of ephemeral flowers dot the forest floor.

During the 1960s, much of the northeastern portion of the property, which had been cleared for farm fields, was replanted with white and red pine, and white spruce, which are now quite tall.

The animal and plant life found on the property is representative of the region and – for an area so close to Toronto – remarkably undisturbed. Resident species include white-tailed deer, coyotes, great-horned owls, pileated woodpeckers, and eastern bluebirds.

Much of the nature reserve is recognized as a significant natural area in the Niagara Escarpment Plan, which helps to protect the forest cover and natural landscape.

Red trillium © Noah Cole


We have upgraded our trails with a new boardwalk, trail maps, and trail blazing. Please stay on the marked trails to ensure the protection of sensitive habitat.

We do not charge a fee for entrance and there are no operating hours on any of our nature reserves. Properties are monitored by volunteer stewards. We rely on visitors to be safe, minimize their impact on nature and be respectful of others. For more information about visiting the nature reserves, please read our Permitted Activities Policy.

We welcome donations to support this nature reserve and our system of 26 nature reserves.

View the trail map here.

Exploring and enjoying the trails and forest © Portia Mohlmann

“Our Willoughby Nature Reserve is a hidden gem that I love visiting with family and friends to enjoy the forest canopy, meandering creek and cedar grove. It’s an amazing place for forest bathing and reconnecting with nature, within a short distance of the city. The forest transforms from season to season revealing different plants, flowers and animals. We need more spaces like this where natural species can find refuge.”

– Portia Mohlmann, former Ontario Nature staffer

Oyster mushroom, Willoughby Nature Reserve © Maya Davidson


The nature reserve is located five kilometres south of Caledon Village. From Highway 10, take The Grange Sideroad northeast. Turn left on Kennedy Road. The property, on the west side of Kennedy Road, will be recognizable by the coniferous plantations along the fence and an Ontario Nature sign.

The entrance is just north of the St. Cornelius Church on the opposite side of the road and can be found on Google Maps. A hiking trail, marked by blue signs, begins at the property entrance. The houses near Highway 10 are occupied; so please respect the residents’ privacy.

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, as well as the Glen Haffy, Palgrave and Albion Hills Conservation Areas, are all nearby.

Willoughby Nature Reserve

Great horned owl © Tony Carver CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Willoughby Nature Reserve