Skunks Misery

Skunk's Misery is one of the largest and most significant forested blocks remaining in the Carolinian Region of southern Ontario. 

Located 60 km southwest of London, ON, it has been identified as a Carolinian Canada site, Provincially Significant Wetland, an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, an Important Bird Area, and a key biodiversity area within the Great Lakes.

This large tract of deciduous forest and farmland situated along the Thames River is surrounded by the communities of Newbury, Wardsville and Bothwell. The residents of these communities and the surrounding rural area have demonstrated considerable civic pride and interest in the natural features of "The Misery."

Skunk's Misery is noted for its diversity of upland and wetland plant communities, some of which are globally rare. It is home to a great diversity of animal and plant inhabitants, including many that are rare or at risk.

The heart of Skunk's Misery is a 1200-ha complex of old-growth hardwood forest and swamp in Middlesex County, connected by wooded ravines to the Thames Canadian Heritage River to the south.

Hognose SnakeRed TriliumFlowering Dogwood

The Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan

The Thames Talbot Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have partnered to produce a detailed 5-year strategic plan for the conservation of Skunk's Misery.

The Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan sets out a vision for protecting and enlarging the core forested area and enhancing wildlife linkages to the Thames River, and includes approximately 3600- ha (3.6 square km) of land.

From the forested core in Southwest Middlesex, the area includes woodland, wetland and prairie in nearby Lambton County and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to the west, Newport Forest in West Elgin, and other stretches of riverine forest along the Thames River (see map).

Approximately 22 per cent of the forested land in the natural area is owned either by Middlesex County or the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. The rest of the land is in private hands.

The Goals of the Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan are:

• Protect and restore old growth forest
• Enhance habitat for area-sensitive birds
• Protect and restore tallgrass prairie and habitat for grassland species
• Create functional linkages to the Thames River and Newport Forest
• Maintain and recover viable populations of Species at Risk
• Improve water quality and habitat of ravine systems
• Support and influence local polices that support conservation
• Promote compatible land use and stewardship on public lands
• Direct incompatible development and land uses away from the Natural Area
• Enhance community support and understanding of Skunk's Misery
• Promote community participation in conservation
• Increase information and monitoring of biodiversity values, natural processes and threats

Read the TTLT Newsletter about Skunk's Misery [PDF].