The Heritage Gardens:
The Heritage Gardens at O’Hara Mill Homestead turns the collection of old buildings into a living museum. The Heritage Gardens are a sight to behold especially once the gardening season gets under way. There is always something blossoming, blooming or fruiting. The idea is to have plants grown in a typical homestead in central Hastings County from the mid 1800s through to the early 1900s. These gardens provide visitors with an incredible array of opportunities from simply taking in the beauty to consulting with the Heritage Gardeners on their methods and the preservation of heritage plant species. The garden is a demonstration of home gardening from mid 1800s to early 1900s. When the volunteers started work several years ago, the area was a building site, as foundations of the O’Hara House had had to be repaired. They started from scratch. The volunteers have expanded the parlour garden in front of the house, created a herb garden to the west of the house, and put in a vegetable garden to the north.
Each week, during the harvesting season, the volunteers take fresh produce to the Madoc Food Bank. For those who would like to be more adventurous; set out on one of our trails. On your hike you will see large old oak trees, rambling streams, old stone fences, wild flowers and much, much more. This season come and visit the gardens, talk to our volunteer gardeners or become a volunteer, bring a picnic, hike the trails and explore the buildings.
Hiking and Nature Trails......and Geocaching
Until recently there have been four trails, including a newly (early 2009) created interpretive trail. This new trail follows Lois Wishart way in some sections and interpretive pamphlets and signage are now in place. Three other new trails have been developed during the summer and fall of 2011. They include Deer Creek Trail, Creekside Trail and Woodland Trail and have been added to the descriptions below.
Printed maps are available at the front porch of the Visitor Centre.
Please remember the trails are for hiking. Please do not litter and please do not pick, dig or carry out any plants. Our aim is to keep our trails in their natural state. We love to walk our dogs on the trails. Please remember that even here dogs should be on leash and to clean up after your dog does his business.
Please Note that all of our trails have been mapped using satellite technology by Quinte Conservation. They have provided us with updated, more accurate maps using satellite images. These maps are on signs, posted at the major junctions of trails.
A Black and White version is available for print HERE.
This trail has now been extended from its original 0.2km to 0.8 km.and has gold markers. It is linked to Lois Wishart Trail above the Visitor Centre and swings over to the eastern boundary, up to the N.E. corner and back again. Along this trail you will find evidence of living in the mid 1800's onward. You will see the split rail fence, stacked stone walls, and pass by the remnants of an old dump typical of long settled properties. There is also the moss covered remains of a concrete foundation, presumably from maple sugar activity. There is also a cross trail about midway to form a shorter loop.
This trail is .25 km long and has blue markers. The shortest of our trails, it meanders along Deer Creek just below the sawmill. While here, check out the beautiful ferns that grow under the canopy of trees. This area originally would have been cleared by the O'Haras to have better access to the road.
Lois Wishart Way
This trail is approx. 1 km and has red markers. This is a self guided tree identification trail named in honour of a long time supporter of O'Hara Mill. There are 20 stations marked along the trail, featuring a particular tree or forest, and we would like to thank the Hastings Stewardship Council for supplying these signs. The paper versions were recently lazer reprinted (Aug. 4) on aluminum board and should last for many years.
PLEASE NOTE: Traversal of Lois Wishart Way, from the public parking area to the Log School House, requires fording Deer Creek above the Mill Pond. It is normally a very easy crossing, with stepping stones closely spaced, however during Spring runoff and some heavy rainfall events, it is not possible to cross the creek safely and sometimes not possible at all. You will not become trapped on the trail but you should be prepared to back track if necessary, especially in Spring. There are plans to rebuild a bridge and boardwalks that were there in the past.
This trail is 1.75 km and has green markers. It is named in honour of Stan McEathron, one of our many volunteers and his family who laid out this trail. This trail is very scenic and natural. It is rocky and rugged and you must cross the natural flow of the creek by stepping stones. You can just imagine what travel would have been like in the 1800's!
Deer Creek Trail (new in 2011)
This trail is 0.21 km long and has white markers. It meanders along the east side of Deer Creek from the foot bridge on the Lois Wishart Way to the stepping stone bridge on the north end of the McEathron Trail.
Woodland Trail (New in 2011)
This trail is 0.46 km long and has lime green markers.It starts near the south end of Deer Creek Trail, angles north east to the north line fence, crosses the small creek on stepping stones and links up with the north end of the Heritage trail.
Creekside Trail (new in 2011)
This trail is 0.45 km long and has orange markers. It starts by the mill pond just above the sawmill, crosses the stepping stones beside Lois Wishart Way, angles along the north side of the small feeder creek and meets up with the Woodland Trail just above the old beaver pond.
Geocaching at O’Hara Mill
The O’Hara Mill Homestead offers a mix of history and high tech to those who have taken up geocaching or high tech treasure hunting, as it is sometimes called. Bring your GPS and enjoy a day at the Mill. Go to "Geocaching" on the main menu for details.