Scenic Beaver Valley and Meaford
Begin your tour in the quaint village of Fleshertonat the Highway 10 and Grey Road 4 intersection. Turn east onto County Road 4. After 3.5 km, turn left and head north onto Grey Road 13 and proceed to the village of Eugenia. Here, at the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, the Beaver River plunges 80 feet into the valley below. Trails provide stunning views of the gorge with its spectacular autumn colours.
Resume your drive northward on Grey Road 13 and proceed a short distance to the Beaver Valley Lookout. A parking area is provided to facilitate a photo stop before the road begins its descent into the valley. Turn left from the lookout parking lot and continue northward on Grey Road 13 through the village of Kimberley, with the majestic Old Baldy escarpment ridge looming on the right.
Grey Road 13 now follows the meandering Beaver River along the valley floor. It rises briefly before crossing the river again at Heathcote. You will pass a number of apple orchards and a great one to stop in at is The Farmer's Pantry where you can pick your own apples and visit with farm animals. Not far past that, you will enter Clarksburg, and then the harbour town of Thornbury.
At the stoplight in Thornbury, where Grey Road 13 ends at Highway 26, a right turn will lead immediately to a dam, where at certain times of the year you may see fish attempting to climb the ladder to their spawning grounds. Heading straight through the same stoplight leads to the pretty harbour and a walking bridge over the river.
When leaving Thornbury, proceed west on Highway 26 to Meaford. The route takes you through the heart of Grey County apple country where 25% of Ontario's apples are produced. The peak of autumn colour coincides with harvest time, so take advantage of the roadside stands and plan to attend the local festivals.
If you time it right, you could arrive in Meaford for the Scarecrow Invasion, a weeklong event that precedes the Apple Craft Show and Quilt Auction in late September. Scarecrows are everywhere; on mailboxes, front porches, balconies and storefronts. While in Meaford, take time to visit the parks and gardens bordering the harbour area.
To leave Meaford, retrace your steps along the main street to the stoplight at the east edge of town. From this stoplight, proceed south along Grey Road 7 and follow this historic route over the hills until you reach the Epping Lookout. Pull in to enjoy the view across the Beaver Valley and to read about John Muir, the famous conservationist, who spent his early years in the Meaford area.
Continuing South on Grey Road 7 down the long grade leading to Kimberley, you reach the Talisman Resort on your right. Turn right onto Sideroad 7A shortly after you pass Talisman. This 2 km stretch is steep and graveled, but persevere as it leads to stunning views across the valley. After cresting the escarpment, you return to pavement as you make a right turn onto 7th Line. Continue straight ahead through the village of Rocklyn, and after approximately 14 km on this quiet country road, turn left at the stop sign onto Grey Road 40. Proceed westward. After making a right turn at a T-junction on Grey Road 29, you will enter the village of Walters Falls.
Here the unique twin waterfall which is worth a visit. Turn north on Front Street across from The Store. A new hotel on the site of a pioneer mill is under construction adjacent to the falls. After completing your exploration of this historic village, leave by following the main street to the west and follow Grey Road 29 towards Bognor. A more scenic option is to turn right at the second crossroad you encounter (about 2 kms. from the village) onto the gravelled Holland Conc. 10, which quickly becomes Sydenham Conc. 2. After driving northward about 2 kms., the road crests a hilltop revealing a spectacular view across the farms of the Bighead Valley to the distant Bognor Marsh tucked in below the bluffs of the Escarpment.
At the bottom of the hill, the pavement returns as you continue north through the community of Bognor. Turn right at the stop sign onto Grey Road 18. Follow this road as it takes a left turn at another stop sign to track northward to Woodford. Here you make a left turn to travel West on Highway 26 in the direction of Owen Sound.
As you near Owen Sound, turn right from Hwy 26 onto Grey Road 15 and proceed to Annan. Turn left at the first stop sign, passing a classic pioneer stone house and drive west for 2 km to the historic village of Leith on Paynter's Bay. Leith is the boyhood home of the renowned Canadian landscape painter Tom Thomson, whose last resting place is in the pioneer cemetery behind Leith United Church.
After passing through Leith, veer left and cross a bridge to follow the coastal road toward Owen Sound, passing the Hibou Conservation Area. Here you will find a delightful day-use beach area where you can relax and enjoy the view of Georgian Bay.
Owen Sound offers a variety of attractions including Inglis Falls Conservation Area, Harrison Park, the Grey Roots Museum & Archives and a wide range of shops and galleries. To complete your journey leave Owen Sound by heading South on Hwy 6 & 10. In Chatsworth, veer left to follow Highway 10 back to your starting point in Flesherton.
Suggested time: ½ day Approximate distance: 140-160 km