Lawson Nature Reserve

About this Location

The best-kept secret in southwest Oxford – the Lawson Nature Reserve encompasses 15 hectares of provincially significant Carolinian woodland and wetland.

The Lawson Nature Reserve was generously donated by Dr. John Lawson, a respected physician, naturalist and long-time member of Ontario Nature. In 1976, he bought the property just south of Ingersoll, solely to conserve the land and return it to its natural state.

Plants and Animals

The Lawson Nature Reserve’s topography varies from moraine, to grassy meadow, to hardwood swamp. The reserve is home to about 200 plant species, including the rare Virginia bugleweed.

An old gravel pit on the property from the 1960s has been reforested with white pine trees and a wetland was created in the south-west portion of the property to increase wildlife habitat.


You can access the reserve by a roadway directly across from a privately owned house. Please respect the homeowner’s privacy.

We do not charge a fee for entrance and there are no operating hours on any of our nature reserves. Properties are monitored by volunteer stewards. We rely on visitors to be safe, minimize their impact on nature and be respectful of others. For more information about visiting the reserves, please read our Permitted Activities Policy.

We [Ontario Nature] welcome donations to support this nature reserve and our system of 26 nature reserves.


The Ingersoll District Nature Club is the official steward of the reserve. Ontario Nature, in partnership with IDNC, has continued Dr. Lawson’s conservation vision of ensuring natural spaces like Lawson Nature Reserve are preserved for generations to come.

IDNC Club members have continued to maintain and enhance this property for all visitors to enjoy! Explore a new trail installed in 2022, benches, picnic tables, an outhouse, bird feeders and nesting boxes throughout the reserve.

Notable Trails

Falconer Trail – 0.4 km

Features: Easy; wood chip base
Utilization: Walking, Snowshoeing, Cross-country skiing

Upon arrival, the Falconer Main Trail leads you into the Lawson Tract and eventually connects you to the other trails. The terrain is fairly level and is suitable for strollers. Just past the Bucknell Wetlands trailhead is the stone cairn noting this woodland/wetland dedication to Dr. Lawson.

Bucknell Wetlands Loop – 0.15 km / Loop to Picnic Site – 0.15 km

Features: Easy; narrow footpath; ground vegetation becomes overgrown in late fall
Utilization: Walking; Pond life viewing

This short trail veers off the Falconer Trail and meanders through a wetland/meadow. It skirts along the edge of a large pond before joining up again to the main trail at a picnic area and another smaller pond.

Edwards Trail – 1.4 Km

Features: Easy; grassy footpath
Utilization:  Walking; Snowshoeing; Cross-country skiing

This north western trail leads visitors through replanted and regenerated areas, past mature stands of spruce, white pines, cedar and soft maples. The trail opens to farmland at the far north where there is a weather shelter.  You’ll travel along the second moraine ridge making this the highest point on the property.

Phillips Trail – 0.4 Km

Features: Moderate; Upper hilly portions may become slippery in wet conditions
Utilization: Walking; Snowshoeing; Cross-country skiing

Starting from the north end at the junction of the Edwards and Falconer trails, you will wander through a mixed forest and old apple orchard. Continuing along the path leads you up and over a hilly moraine, past where an old homestead once stood. The trail descends steeply to the left and brings you to Peepers Pond and a picnic site.

Content from Ingersoll Nature Club website and Ontario Nature website

Lawson Nature Reserve trail map
Ingersoll District Nature Club