A nature Reserve is a Provincial Park selected to represent and protect distinctive wildlife, natural habitat, bedrock or landforms of the Province. At Peter’s Woods Provincial Nature Reserve you will find a small remnant of a near virgin maple-beech forest similar to that which once covered many parts of Southern Ontario. The shape of Peter’s Woods was determined 12,000 years ago during the last ice age. Massive glaciers of ice scraped and pushed bedrock and soils into what is referred to as the Oak Ridges moraine. The moraine, which extends from Orangeville to Trenton, Is composed largely of sand, gravel and small boulders.
Ownership of this property dates back to 1810. As the land changed hands, areas adjacent to it were cleared for agricultural purposes. However, this wood lot remained virtually untouched.
The Willow Beach Field Naturalists, recognizing the beauty and value of such an undisturbed area devoted both time and capital to the establishment of this nature reserve. Peter’s Woods was named in memory of one of the Club’s leading members - A.E. (Peter) Schultz, in 1978.
Today there are about 20 enthusiastic volunteers from Willow Beach Field Naturalists who help maintain Peter’s Woods from April to November. The numbered posts along the 0.8 kilometre of trail point out particular features of interest. Be sure to watch carefully all along the trail for signs of animal and bird life, and sense the wonder of the towering trees around you.
Peter’s Woods is on the sandy, north facing slope of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Steep-sided valleys have been cut into this northern slope by surface runoff, springs and the headwater streams of Mill Creek. Deciduous forests of sugar maple, beech, red oak an deciduous evergreen forest containing hemlock and white pine dominate the slopes and well drained uplands. Poorly drained wetlands support forests of white cedar, with local concentrations of red ash, white birch and other trees. The nature reserve also includes areas of land that has been used for agriculture.
Peter’s Woods has minimal facilities including a parking lot, trail and vault privies. Visitors are requested to stay on the foot trails to prevent trampling the vegetation and compacting the soil. The unauthorized collection of natural objects in the park is prohibited. Anyone wishing to conduct research must obtain an approved research application. The features within Nature Reserves are protected for educational purposes and for research which will benefit present and future generations.
For more information:
Bryna Sprigings, A/Park Superintendent
Darlington Provincial Park | Peter’s Woods Nature Reserve
1600 Darlington Park Road, Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K3
T 905-436-2036 Ext. 231 | F 905-436-3729
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks with the assistance of the Nature Conservancy of Canada have approved a management plan for Peter’s Woods Provincial Park, with the intent that it be added to the original park to protect its distinctive landscape, flora and fauna.
For more information:
Ontario Parks, South Eastern Zone
or view at
To report bird sightings at Peter's Woods, please click the link below:
eBird - Peter's Woods Nature Reserve
Click here for directions. (Scroll down to Peterborough Area.)
Click here for Clive Goodwin's article on Peter's Woods.
Tim Lawley and his wife Anne, and Tony Pitts working on the new boardwalk installed in 2010.
Photo© Petra Hartwig
Read the 2010 Peter's Woods Annual Report :Peter's Woods 2010
Working on improvements for Peter's Woods spring 2010 with the replacement of sections of the boardwalk. Photos© Petra Hartwig