The McTavish Tract is part of a larger property that was settled by Alexander McTavish in 1836. The farm remained in the McTavish family until 1965, when it was sold by Donald McTavish. A long-time conservationist, Donald had the foresight to sever the wooded tract from the original farm, retaining ownership for the McTavish family. His children Stuart, Robert, Murray, Hugh, Laura, Marian and Donna decided to protect the property in perpetuity by transferring the title to the Thames Talbot Land Trust in 2008.
The 18.6-ha (46-acre) site includes a variety of habitats including a mature Upland Hardwood Forest, a Cedar Swamp, and a Spruce Plantation. The property also features a spring-fed stream that is a tributary of the Avon River.
The hardwood bush features oak, Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, ash, American Beech and hickory.
The swamp is the result of several strong springs that have created a stream which meanders southward from the concession road to the Avon River at the south end of the property.
The swamp is home to White Cedar, Basswood, Ironwood, ash, maple, poplar and spruce, as well as a variety of birds, wildflowers, insects and wildlife, including mosquitoes.
The McTavish Tract sits on the boundary between the Stratford Till Plain and the Waterloo Hills Physiographic Region. It lies partly on a small portion of the Easthope Moraine and partly in an old glacial spillway that runs parallel to the moraine.
The Upland Deciduous Forest and Cedar Swamp are high quality communities typical of the area. Although not rare, these woods are important because Perth County generally has very low forest cover.
In addition to the cool water stream, the seeps and springs on the site also make an important contribution to the hydrology of the area.