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The Dunsford (North-East of Lindsay) Nature Trail Review
I looked this one up and found a write up describing it as a trail through a wetland with plenty of wildlife photo possibilities. So, we foolishly headed out in mid – May (wearing street shoes), to check it out. Well, judging by the length of the lenses on everyone else’s cameras, and the number of different bird species we saw, it certainly is a trail for birders (in mid May anyway). However, it is also through a wetland, and on our first visit, the trail was more canal than trail. Most other walkers had high rubber boots on. We did not, so we couldn’t cover the entire trail.
Hence, we returned in early August to re-assess. This trail is of course an old railway berm and is 3.2 kms long (one way). It goes through a large wetland with at least five bridges and/or culverts where open water could be seen. The entire trail has visible water, but with minor shrubbery blocking clear picture opportunities except at the rather plentiful bridges/culverts. Parking is limited at both ends. The link below will take you to the center of the trail so you can see both ends :
We started from the Southern end (Heights Rd.) as the parking situation is somewhat better than in Dunsford itself. There’s an odd base at the South end that is composed of gravel sized, to fist sized, rock. It made for quite difficult walking, but only extended about 330 meters. The wetland is immediately apparent from this end and the photo ops begin. While birders predominated in May, when we returned in August, the bird diversity was still rather impressive, but we found we could add insects, reptiles, and amphibians to the list.
The Wife and I aren’t birders, but we’ve seen our share of birds over the years. On this trail, in both seasons, we saw/heard birds we had no chance of positively identifying. I counted near a dozen different species of butterflies which constantly fluttered around us, and we spotted many turtles in the marshes on both sides of the trail. However, in August, the stars of the show were the frogs! Frogs ! Everywhere the frogs ! D’ya remember the old cowboy movies where the bad guys made the comic relief guy “dance” by shooting at his feet ? Well, that’s what the frogs were doing to us. With every step, there’d be a dozen frogs darting around under our feet, making us “dance” to avoid stepping on them. Small wonder we saw so many different species of herons and bitterns (and that little tiny wading bird we couldn’t identify).
The base varies widely from damp soil, through dry compacted railbed, and even has a stretch of asphalt. As mentioned above, there are those large rounded fist sized rocks at the South end, but there’s another length of it further up toward the center. In the heat of August, it makes for a somewhat annoying base to try walking on. However, my main complaint with it, is that walking on it makes more noise than a drunken rhinoceros rollerskating through a plate glass factory, warning all potential wildlife (of which there was plenty) of your approach. Many a potential photo op was replaced by a sudden movement of shrubbery and the splashing sound of something running into the marsh before I could get a shot of what it might’ve been. That doesn’t mean we didn’t see anything. It just means I haven’t got any good pictures of wildlife to show you, but we saw plenty.
The Final Take
Aptly named (Nature Trail), this is a level, (wet in the Spring) trail with many bridges and culverts allowing ample opportunity for photos of the wetland, birds, insects reptiles, and amphibians. The Southern half is open sky and the Northern half has a fair bit of shade. Of course, it’s wide enough for two to walk side by side. There was no mention made of dog walking on line nor on site. However, I would suggest leashed walking, what with all the water around. Roadside parking is limited at both ends (though the Southern end has slightly better parking), and there are no facilities of any kind. A short trail it is, but The Emily Tract, and Ken Reid Cons. Area trails are both less than half an hour distant, should you be in the area anyway.
Have a nice walk,