In the City of London, 21 natural areas are currently designated as "Environmentally Significant Areas" or ESAs. These areas exist within both agricultural and urban settings and include wetlands, forests and meadows as well as valleylands and significant wildlife habitat. The City funds a contract with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), to manage over 730 hectares of publically owed ESA land in London.
The ESAs are an integral part of London's Natural Heritage System. In addition to the ESAs, London has many other natural areas within the City including significant woodlands and significant valleylands in parks.
The City of London was recognized with the Lee Symmes Municipal Award by Ontario Nature for our commitment to protecting our ESAs. The Lee Symmes Municipal Award recognizes municipalities that demonstrate community leadership and exceptional achievement in planning or implementing programs that protect and regenerate the natural environment within a community.
- Kains Woods Hiking Trail
- Killaly Meadows
- Meadowlily Woods
- Medway Valley Heritage Forest
- Sifton Bog
- Warbler Woods
- Westminster Ponds
- Lower Dingman
- Pottersburg Valley
Accessible Trails in ESAs
Access to nature for all Londoners is provided in ESAs. Many trails in ESAs are fully accessible and all boardwalks and signs in ESA are designed to meet accessibility standards as they are replaced for lifecycle renewal. Maps of accessibile trails and boardwalks in ESAs are available here:
- Sifton Bog ESA Accessibile Boardwalk
- Killaly Meadows ESA, Multi-use Pathways
- Medway Valley Heritage Forest ESA - Multi-use Pathways
- The Coves ESA - AccessibleTrails
- Westminster Ponds ESA - Accessible Trails
Some things to Remember
To help preserve the natural environment please adhere to the following rules when visiting London's ESAs:
- Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
- Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow blazes)
- All pets must be on leash (2 m/6 ft max.)
- Do not disturb wildlife or pick or transplant flowers
- Access is allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Bicycles are not permitted in ESA's with the exception of asphalt or crushed gravel paths in Kilally Meadows, and Medway Valley Heritage Forest.
- Keep the ESA's litter free - PLEASE pick up after yourself.
- Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.