One beautiful balmy Sunday morning we headed on out for a gorgeous fall walk at Dundas Valley Conservation Area. It was just at that perfect moment in time when you can see the full range of fall foliage from green to yellow, rusty oranges and red all at once.
We were all set to go; baby in the carrier, fall apples for a snack and a Detour coffee in hand to give us a kick start to the trek.
We’ve cycled to the conservation area before and biked the main loop trail but this was my first time doing the loop on foot -a little ambitious as it was only week two after having a baby, but it felt amazing to be out of the house enjoying the fall air and all the smells of the forest.
I love when the trail comes upon the old Hermitage ruins. The Hermitage is an old estate that is over 170 years old. It served as a summer house for a wealthy Irish-born Scottish immigrant named George Gordon Browne Leith.
According to the historic plaque outside the Hermitage the limestone summer home was destroyed in a fire in 1934. Leith’s daughter built a smaller home within its ruins in which she lived until her death in 1942. The ruins are all that’s left of what is said to have been a lavish estate. The Gatehouse, previously home to the Leith’s gatehouse keeper and his family, is now an operating museum that houses artifacts from the Hermitage as well as the details and history of the Hermitage and the Leith family.
My other favourite spot on the trail is when it opens up onto an old apple orchard. The trees are all gnarly and twisted, and the apples have long gone wild.
I love seeing remnant glimpses into history like this old orchard. I wonder about how the land and life would’ve been like when the orchard was well tended. Perhaps this was part of the Leith’s estate?
*Dundas Valley Conservation Area, 540 Governors Rd., Dundas. $9/vehicle, free to enter on foot or by bicycle