Healthy Naturalist

Glen Forest Green Space

Glen Forest Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia.  Marked by a historical view point marker, Glen Forest Green Space hosts a bridge over Bilston Creek. A historical marker indicates that the bridge across the creek was initially composed of logs and poles without railings. The Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin is nearby.

Geographical location N48º 23’ 54” W123º 32’ 56”

Glen Forest Green Space can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn left onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road and then left onto Glen Forest Way. The green space is immediately after the bridge. City buses travel along Happy Valley Road.

Ferncliff Park

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Ferncliff Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This trail connects to the Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin. The rough footpath is though the shaded understory of Douglas Fir trees and lies on a sloped terrain.

Geographical location N48º 24’ 16” W123º 32’ 48”

Ferncliff Park can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn right onto Latoria Road and continue along to reach Happy Valley Road. Turn left onto Happy Valley Road and continue to Winter Road. Turn left onto Winter Road and then, after crossing over the Galloping Goose Trail, turn right onto Dallimore Road. Look for the trail to access the GGT at the end of road.  A short stroll along the GGT trail leads to the junction with the trail into Ferncliff Park. Alternatively, the trail can be accessed from along Ferncliff Place between homes 1050 and 1060. City buses travel along Happy Valley Road.

Galloping Goose Trail – Metchosin

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The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is a multi-use trail that connects Victoria to Sooke, approximately fifty five kilometers distance. This old rail bed was initially used during the nineteen twenties for a passenger train. Although it is never far from busy streets, walking, hiking and cycling, as well as sections that include use by equestrians, thus riding along the trail removes one from the bustling cars with glimpses of squirrels, flowers, trees and beautiful lookout points. The trail starts in the Victoria West neighborhood of Victoria, B.C., and continues onto Saanich, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Sooke.

Strolling or cycling along the ten and half kilometer section of the Galloping Goose Trail in Metchosin makes for a peaceful excursion. Even the roadway access points are relatively quiet compared to sections of this trail further to the east. The wide gravel Trail enters Metchosin from Langford, B.C., near the junction of Happy Valley Road and Winter Road. The Trail parallels Bilston Creek as it flows southwest toward to the ocean waters of Parry Bay. Parry Bay is along the northern shore along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The trees and shrubs along the riparian area of the creek are mostly cedar and Douglas fir with a few big leaf maple trees, ocean spray and hardhack. The Trail lies on the east side Happy Valley Road until the junction with Glen Forest Way. There is small road side parking area near this junction along Glen Forest Way.

The Galloping Goose Trail-Metchosin continues west on the east side of Happy Valley Road and crosses over three small creeks. Cole and Hewitt creeks drain from the slopes of Mount Blinkhorn, a two hundred and fifty-nine meter hill; while Pilgrim Creeks drains the small wetlands feed by Collidge Creek. All these waterways help maintain the waterway of Bilston Creek. The Trail then traverses Kangaroo Road near Rocky Point Road, and typically the busiest intersection. As the Galloping Goose Trail continues crossing over Taylor Road and Lombard Drive as it curves around the slopes of Montreal Hill. Another small waterway, Sherwood Creek, passes under the trail. Sherwood Creek drains directly into the Pacific Ocean. After passing close to the footpaths in the private  Pearson College the Galloping Goose connects with Rocky Point Road. About a kilometer later the trail enters Matheson Lake Park where there is some refreshing swimming sites, scenic views from the picnic tables and benches. There are lavatories maintained by the Capital Regional District found near the picnic and swimming area.  Cripple Creek is paralleled by the Trail in this section. This creek flows into Pedder Bay where it forms a small estuary.

Geographical location N48º 24’ 27” W123º 32’ 24” at the junction of Winter Road and Dallimore Road

Galloping Goose Trail-Metchosin can be reached from several locations in Metchosin, B.C. Exit the Trans Canada Highway, also called Hwy1, onto Millstream/Veterans Memorial Parkway. Continue south onto Veterans Memorial Parkway to reach Sooke Road. Turn right onto Sooke Road then make a left onto Happy Valley Road.  Follow Happy Valley Road to reach Winter Road. Turn left on to Winter Road. There is limited parking along Winter Road, in Metchosin, where the Trail can be accessed. Other options, in Metchosin, for accessing the Galloping Goose Trail are from the many access points where the trail traverses the following roads: Happy Valley Road, Glen Forest Way, Lindholm Road, Bennett Road, Moreland Road, Kangaroo Road, Rocky Point Road, Taylor Road, Lombard Drive, near Pearson College Drive and at Matheson Lake Park. There is limited roadside parking at all these junctions with the exception of Matheson Lake Park which has large gravel parking area near the lake shore.

Trails BC and GGT websites as well as the 2004 Birder’s Guide: Lochside Regional and Galloping Goose Trail written by K. Taylor and published by Alabaster Publishing have further information about the Trail.

Hillman Green Space

 

Hillman Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. The trail borders along the western side of the Metchosin Golf and Country Club greens. The trail is shaded by small shrubs and a few Douglas fir and cedar trees. Fence pastures for horses, cattle and sheep from the border along the narrow green space. A wooden pedestrian bridge, Mac Page Bridge, crosses over Bilston Creek, with a watershed area of 3154 hectares.  A unique bench near the bridge provides a terrific spot for respite and a moment to enjoy the sound the creek waters. The dirt and gravel footpath is about one thousand meters long and connects Hillman Road with Pears Road. The Galloping Goose Trail and Witty’s Lagoon Park are nearby.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 21” W123º 33’ 33”

Hillman Green Space can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream /Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn right onto Latoria Road and continue along to each Happy Valley Road. At the junction with Rocky Point Road and Hillman   Road make a left turn onto Hillman Road. The road is a rough dirt road and the trail access is at the end where there is limited parking. City buses travel along Happy Valley Road toward Metchosin Road.

Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park

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Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is composed of a diverse number of habitats over the 560 square kilometer (56 ha/138 acre) park. With five kilometers of woodland trails, a salt marsh, meadows, and a tidal lagoon this is a comprehensive nature appreciation park. Witty’s Lagoon Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. Witty’s Lagoon is wheelchair-accessible and was created in 1969 then became a CRD park in 1986. Along with its diverse habitats is the flora and fauna that accompanies the various habitats. In spring, the open meadows above the lagoon contain a brilliant array of wildflowers including camas lilies, saxifrage, and nodding onions.  Witty’s Lagoon is a stopover for migrating birds such as osprey before they attempt the 13-mile (21-km) crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Peninsula. Other birds, such as the belted kingfisher, orange-crowned warbler, and dark-eyed junco overwinter in the shelter of the lagoon. Migratory birds that stop in the lagoon include sandpipers, turnstones, and surfbirds.   The Bilston Creek watershed forms the small valley and contains a soothing waterfall called Sitting Lady Falls. If you approach the beach at Witty’s Lagoon from the Sitting Lady Falls or main entrance, the waterfalls can be observed from several vantage points. The water from Bilston Creek spills through a cleft in the granite. The park has plenty of berry bushes in summer and apple trees in the autumn. The marshland is lined with Garry oak and arbutus trees. Stop at the information display to learn more about the natural history. There are several bridal trails in the park that are frequented by equestrians year round.

Tower Point is also part of Witty’s Lagoon Park but is separate by a tidal sandy beach area. A short trail leads to a small beach at Tower Point where the ocean has hollowed tide pools in the granite outcropping. A rich variety of marine life shelter in the pools and stand revealed at low tide. Bring your rubber boots. You’ll also be rewarded with good views from here of aptly named Haystack Islands, where long, thick strands of grass grow in the shape of old stacks. Harbor seals can be seen sunbathing just off shore from Rocky Bluff Trail on Tower point. Farther out in the strait are the Race Rocks, Canada’s most southerly point on the west coast. Hurricane Ridge in Washington States Olympic Mountains forms the plateau on the distant southern horizon.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 21” W123º 33’ 33”

Witty’s Lagoon can be reached from Highway 1 when you exit at the Millstream Veteran Memorial Parkway exit. Head south along the Veteran Memorial Parkway to reach Latoria Road. Turn left onto Latoria Road and continue along to each Metchosin Road. Turn right onto Metchosin Road and look the parking area for Witty’s Lagoon across from the golf course.  Park near the nature house and the other which provides wheel chair access into the park. This is well-marked trailhead at Sitting Woman Falls is located opposite the Metchosin Golf Course.   Tower Point parking lot is near the junction of Olympic View Road and Bradene Road.Additional access points into the park have limited parking including along Metchosin Road, Duke Road, via the very long  staircase at the end of Witty Beach Road, Bradene Green Space and the end of Cliff Drive.

Tower Point Regional Park

 

Tower Point Regional Park is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This park is part of the Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park that it is connected only at low tides from the sandy beach of Parry Bay. The estuary of Biltson Creek is a natural division between the two areas. There are views to the south and east ocean area called the Strait of Juan de Fuca and snow covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA. Tower Point Park has a one kilometer walking trail along its perimeter with a variety of viewpoints. The gravel and grass covered trail from the parking lot is bordered by Himalayan blackberry bushes with the occasional garter snake. The pathway leads to an open meadow field with a selection of trails to explore the area. Head to the immediate left (eastward) to take tour of the rocky shoreline of Tower Point. The pathway leads to the Douglas fir and garry oak trees that border the shoreline. The rocky shore line is formed from pillow lava exposures. These pillow basalts are echoed on the nearby islets to the east and south. Arbutus trees and smaller shrub like snow berries, oceanspray and hardhack are seen along the shoreline as well.  This section of the park has picnic tables and benches in few places. The toilets are in the forest grove.  Bradene Green Space is nearby.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 13” W123º 30’ 29”

Tower Point Regional Park can be reached from the TransCanada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit the highway onto the Old Island Highway into Colwood. Follow the Old Island Highway as it becomes Sooke Road. Turn left onto Metchosin Road and continue along Metchosin Road to reach Duke Road. Follow Duke Road to the junction with Olympic View Drive. Turn onto Olympic View Drive and look for the parking area on the left. The trail is across the grass area. City buses travel along Metchosin Road.

Bradene Green Space

Bradene Green Space is in the District of Metchosin, a coastal community in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia. This green space has a staircase to access the estuary of Bilston Creek. At low tides the large sandy beach of Parry Bay and Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park is accessible. Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park and Tower Point Regional Park are nearby.

Geographical Location N48º 23’ 8” W123º 30’ 34”

Bradene Green Space can be reached from the TransCanada Highway (Hwy 1). Exit the highway onto the Old Island Highway into Colwood. Follow the Old Island Highway as it becomes Sooke Road. Turn left onto Metchosin Road and continue along Metchosin Road to reach Duke Road. Follow Duke Road to the junction with Olympic View Drive. Turn onto Olympic View Drive and park on the side of the road. The trail is between homes 10 and 15. There is limited road side parking along Bradene Road. City buses travel along Metchosin Road.