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GREENWOOD CONSERVATION AREA SOUTH OF CONCESSION #5 REVIEW
This review is on that part of Greenwood CA which lies South of Concession # 5. The North section is covered here https://2oldguyswalking.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/greenwood-ca-north-of-concession-5-review/
There are five access points. The main entrance is at the Southern terminus of Greenwood Rd. (about 1.4 kms South from Concession #5 or, 2290 Greenwood Rd., Ajax, Ontario if you wanna get directions from Google maps). This parking lot rivals a fine hotel’s lobby. Very impressive. Complete with coloured paver stones in a circular designed roundabout and solar powered night lights. Despite the opulent presentation, there’s no charge for parking. The 2nd parking lot to the West (left) on the trail map, appears to be only for cars with a “pass” of some sort to access the Discovery Pavilion and has a gate across it at the end of the main parking lot. The gate was always open on the days we visited, though the notice on it read like it would normally be closed. There is of course passage for walkers around the gate.
There’s an unmarked access also from Greenwood Rd. about 820 meters South from Concession #5. There’s very limited parking at this one. It provides a shortcut to the White Pine Walk that involves a lot less paved roadway walking than from the main parking lot.
A third access is on Church St N. On the trail map it’s shown right beside a turquoise blob about 200 meters South of Concession #5. That’s actually the “leash free dog park” parking lot. Another unmarked access is from a parking lot for the North end of the Duffins Trail. It’s another 450 meters further down Church St (right where the orange octagon numbered 47 shows on the trail map). It doesn’t show on the map but there’s ample parking for a dozen or so cars.
Meadow Trail (400 meters)
From the main Greenwood Rd. parking lot, walk up the roadway (about 200 meters) just past where the sign says you gotta have a pass to continue (if you were driving). It’s on your left. A pleasant stroll around the outer perimeter of a meadow. It’s well mown and easily wide enough for two to walk side by side. It’s kinda triangular with the road being one of the triangle’s sides.
Being such a short trail that just arcs around to the road again, we elected to cut off onto the Bird Walk trail, and at it’s end, walk a bit of road back to complete the Meadow Trail on our way back to the parking lot.
The Bird Walk Trail (500 meters)
This one began with a distressing stretch through a fake forest (man planted rows of pines meant to control erosion back in the 40’s) rife with dog- strangling vine. However, it soon blossomed into a lovely forested trail with a coupla small wooden bridges over fairly deep ravines worn away by Spring runoff. As a side note, this trail looks like it was designed to withstand a great deal of Spring runoff. Might be an interesting one to visit in that season.
We also noticed, as we neared the end of the trail, rough wooden structures similar to ones we’d seen at Laurie Lawson (children’s) Outdoor Education Centre. I’m guessing that’s what the “Discovery Pavilion” is here, as it was near the end of this trail. For some odd reason, a lovely lookout over Duffin’s Creek isn’t mentioned anywhere on the trail’s description.
Duffins Trail (2.3 km)
We took this one from the Church St. parking lot. It’s a nicely canopied mixed forest trail with a very clear understorey. There is one honkin’ big old hill on it but considering the topography of this CA, I’m surprised there aren’t more, and much worse. This is the longest trail in this CA and really, it’s just a return trail with a coupla side trails, forming a pair of loops. Regardless, I found the trail markers to be oddly confusing. Your best bet with this one is to simply start at one end and just keep taking the trail to the right, until you hit the other end. Then turn around and walk back taking the trail to the right, until you’re back to where you started. That way you’ll be sure to cover the whole thing, and cover the whole thing you should. It’s a very enjoyable trail.
The South end of this trail was closed at the bridge over Duffin’s Creek when we tried to walk it in September 2017. Somerville contracting was repairing a pipeline under the trail and creek. A real nice guy named Dave explained it all. A pipe under there delivers everything from jet fuel to petrol depending on the demand and the day. Modern equipment saw a dent (probably from backfilling when it was laid in 1952) and they were there to dig it up and repair it. That’s why the hill with the staircase is so wide open and clear. Dave told us how the Engineer wanted them to clear all the trees around the pipeline for the dig. But he demanded the Engineer come and see the site to avoid taking down more trees than necessary. Dave managed to save that massive maple just before you cross the open area (from the Discovery Pavillion), and many other trees too.
White Pine Trail (1.2 kms + the walk in from the main lot or from Greenwood Rd.)
I didn’t expect this one to be much more than a wander through a fake forest. However, it isn’t a fake forest, it ridges a steep ravine, and has a rather impressive lookout. You can make a loop out of it in numerous ways. This trail has the feel of an “inter-campsite” link trail from the 60’s as it seems to connect what are now picnic sites. We walked this trail about three months after the others. That’s why the landscape appears a little more barren.
The Final Take
Duffins Trail is the primary one here, and it’s best accessed from the Church St parking lot to avoid alot of paved roadway walking. The Meadow Trail is short (and closest accessed from the main parking lot), but is worthwhile when combined with the Bird Walk Trail. It makes a pleasant stroll through a meadow, and a canopied forest with a lookout over Duffins Creek. The White Pine Trail also has a lookout, and provides a view down a ridge as you walk it. There’s no charge for parking at any of the access points, nor is there any charge for trail use. All the trails are walkable by two, side by side, for most of their lengths. There are a number of picnic tables on the White Pine Trail. Otherwise, there are no facilities of any kind. There might be some washrooms in the Discovery Pavilion, but that Pavilion never made me feel very welcome, so I’ve never been in it.
Have a nice walk,