skip to main content

Ausable River Cut Conservation Area (ARCA)

A photo of lookout at Ausable River Cut Conservation Area, Thedford.
Where is Ausable River Cut Conservation Area?

Address: 9984 Northville Crescent, Thedford, Ontario

How do I get there?

Driving Directions: 

Between Port Franks and Grand Bend, next to the bridge over 'The Cut' on Highway # 21.

You may also find this Google Map helpful:

Open seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise posted.

Watch the video now:

Recreational Trails

Explore the Ausable River Cut’s one-kilometre (0.6-mile) recreational trail and travel through the Oak Savanna and dunes. Our multi-use recreational trails are accessible by foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis – weather permitting.

NOTE: Trails may be subject to flooding. Use caution and avoid trails if covered in water. 


Fishing is permitted in compliance with applicable legislation. 

Outdoor Cards and Fishing Licences can be purchased from Service Ontario and other licence issuers. 

Please release any fish caught out of season. 

There is a number of native species in the Ausable River. 

Rules and Regulations

CAUTION: These are nature trails. Trail surfaces may be slippery or uneven. Be especially careful during windy, wet and icy conditions. 

  • Wear appropriate clothing, footwear and equipment for your preferred trail activity. 
  • Stay away from fast-flowing water. 

Rules protect the environment, you and your fellow users. These rules must be followed and are be enforced under the Conservation Authorities Act and Trespass to Property Act. 

Please refer to signs and entrance kiosks for permitted and prohibited activities.

  • The property is closed to the public between sunset and sunrise. 
  • Motorized vehicles, bicycles, e-bikes, horses, hunting, alcohol use, drones, fires and camping are not permitted. 
  • Dogs must be on a leash, under control, and you must clean up after your dog. Ensure your pet does not damage or interfere with vegetation or wildlife and does not interfere with others’ enjoyment.
  • Do not remove or damage plants, trees, wildlife, signs or structures. 
  • Stay on the trails and respect neighbouring landowners. 
  • Fishing is permitted in compliance with applicable legislation.  
  • Don’t litter.

Please report vandalism and incidents to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Tips to Enjoy your Visit

Be aware of the following to help you enjoy your visit. 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is a common, native plant in the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed. 
‘Leaves of three, let it be. Berries white, take flight.’
Leaves may either have smooth edges or a few coarse teeth and may appear shiny. If you come into contact with Poison Ivy wash the affected area with hot soap and water as soon as possible, launder clothes in hot water. 
Habitat: Open woods, fields and roadsides, disturbed areas. 

Picture of Poison Ivy – Pending

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is an invasive, non-native plant introduced from Asia. It has large, flat-topped to slightly dome-shaped flower (similar to Queen Anne’s Lace/Wild Carrot) and seed head and a bumpy or bristly stem. It can grow up to five metres in height. Skin contact with Giant Hogweed sap may cause severe skin rashes when exposed to sunlight. 
Habitat: Roadsides, stream banks, waste areas, yards 

Picture of Giant Hogweed – Pending

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is from half a metre tall to three metres in height. Stems and leaves are covered with short, stinging hairs which can cause irritation and inflammation if touched with bare skin. Flowers are in clusters with separate flowers attached by short stalks along a central stem about 1-7 centimetres (cm) long. 

Picture of Stinging Nettle – Pending


Ticks are present in the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed. 

  • Wear light-coloured clothing, so it’s easier to see ticks
  • Wear closed-toed shoes
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts
  • Wear long pants, tucked into your socks
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET
  • After outdoor activity put your clothes in the dryer

Check yourself and your children:

  • Behind your knees
  • On your head
  • In your belly button
  • In your groin area
  • In your underarm area
  • On the back of your body – use a mirror, or ask someone to check for you

It’s a good idea to have a shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks.

If you discover a tick on your body remove it, place the tick in a secure container and contact your local public health unit. 

Directions for removal can be found here: 

Why should I visit?

The Ausable River Cut Conservation Area is the former Thedford Conservation Area.

It is one of the last remaining public rest stops for travellers of the Bluewater Highway.

Walkers can enjoy a stroll on the nature trail through this forested area within the important Carolinian Zone.

Conservation Areas

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) properties, including conservation areas and trails, are open for public use. 

Permitted Uses

For permitted and prohibited uses visit our Permitted Uses page:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation has nine conservation areas where you can enjoy nature and stay active and learn about how to protect soil, water, and living things. 

These areas have trails and parking lots. Some have privies. They are open year-round but there is no winter maintenance and most parking lots are not maintained in the winter

To learn more about conservation areas and plan your next visit, please click:

The ABCA owns thousands of acres of environmentally significant lands which are mostly forested. There is no formal trail system but people are welcome to visit for nature appreciation. 

For information on all conservation lands (including conservation areas) visit:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) properties and trails are open for public use contingent on following public health direction. 

To learn more visit:

For current property status and updates please visit this web page: