Ocean Route 7: Medway Harbour
Neither South Shore Connect.ca nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites.
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites.
South Shore Connect.ca and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.
|South Shore Region
|Where To Find Us
Port Medway, NS
|Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)
|Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA
Description & Services
|A large protected harbour with numerous coves, bays, islands and the Medway River offering many route options.
Where: North east of Liverpool
Skill Level: Beginner and intermediate
Time: Day trips or overnight
Distance: ~16 km around the harbour
Medway Harbour was once a busy port of call as ships came in from Britain, New England and the Caribbean. It was ideally situated for timber export, as logs were floated down the Medway River and cut at saw mills along the way. Many schooners and a variety of other ships were built at local boat yards. Port Medway was settled by families from New Endland beginning in 1760 and by 1850, it was home to about 3,000 people. The population is much less today and once cleared land has become
forest along much of the shore. Fishing is the only remaining industry and it has been cut back. The large fish plant in Port Medway closed in 1990 but a small one still operates there and another near Vogler’s Cove.
Large boulders pack up against most of the inner harbour shores (west of Port Medway) but it is possible to land at small rocky beaches or on patches of eel grass. As you move east past the Port Medway light house to the outer harbour, you find more sandy beaches especially on the outer islands where you can dig for clams and mussels. At one time, Great Island was a native burial place where the Miq’mak brought their dead following winter from up river in Greenfield. The west side of the island has a string of small sandy beaches good for landing and a picnic.
Water Safety Notes (see also Ocean notes)
Tides - Tides are a factor in the lagoon between the outer islands and Cherry Hill Beach which is very shallow and mostly dry at low tide. Watch out for currents that create river-like conditions at the narrow openings between the islands as the tide rushes in or out of the lagoon.
Winds - The winds in this harbour are very temperamental and tend to swing around during the day. There are enough bays and coves so that you can pick a route out of the wind at least at the start of your trip. Beginners should avoid crossing the harbour in windy conditions.
Swells - Beginners should stay inside Flagstaff Point and not cross the harbour if swells are present. Intermediate paddlers will need to consider the direction of the swells and the distance of open water they want to cross.
Boat Traffic - Expect fishing boats and motorboats though not nearly as busy as Mahone Bay or Chester.
Points of Interest
1 Silver Fin Fisheries - Pull up here if you want to buy some fish (haddock, halibut, cod etc.).
2 Mosher’s Cove - On the west side of this cove on a point is an old homestead foundation surrounded by apple trees, cherry trees, blueberry patches, wild roses, and thistle. You can land on the other side of the point in a small cove.
3 Vogler’s Cove - A pretty village with many historic homes and wharfs along a narrow protected cove.
4 Conrads Beach - Known locally as Cherry Hill Beach. This is an uncrowded, undeveloped 2 km sandy beach with a large lagoon behind it. Try not to damage the grasses that hold the dunes in place by staying on existing trails. Stay clear of the endangered piping plover and their nests during nesting season. On the lagoon behind the beach, is a good spot to surf on standing waves when the tide is right. The water there is very warm in summer and shallow.
5 Port Medway - A short stroll from the wharf takes you past an old graveyard and through the village with its many older homes from the ship building era (1840-1880).
6 Oyster farm - The string of buoys you see west of the village near Bass Island are part of an oyster seed farm operation.
How to get there
Take Exit 17 on Route 103 for Access Point One, Two and Three. Take Exit 17a for Access Point Four and Five
Access Point One - East Port Medway ramp
About 6 km from Highway 103, turn right at the fork and continue past the church to the end of the road. Here there is an excellent public put-in spot with ample parking and a large turnaround. Although the wharf is gone, there is a breakwater and a paved ramp. A stony beach on the other side of the breakwater is also good for access. No homes can be seen here though this lovely spot was obviously once the site of a homestead. Near-by woods and trails invite exploration and are filled with apple trees, wild roses, Indian Pears, and blackberries.
Access Point Two - Vogler’s Cove
A small public slipway next to the government wharf provides fair access. Go down a short dirt road on your right just before two large white waterfront buildings as you come into town. An old square white house with railings around the chimney top is an interesting landmark. Parking is very limited. Along the paved road are numerous private slipways including one next to the store and take out. Ask permission if you want to use any of these.
Access Point Three - Conrads Beach (known as Cherry Hill Beach)
Turn right in Cherry Hill down the Henry Conrad Road to Cherry Hill Beach where parking is available. Travel along a sandy bumpy road to the water edge if your vehicle has enough clearance. From here it is possible to launch into the lagoon behind the beach and paddle back into the harbour. Sand bars and low water may be a problem at low tide.
Access Point Four - Port Medway
Port Medway wharf is 8 kms from Exit 17a. Continue straight ahead past the stop sign by the store toward the large government wharf. A concrete ramp suitable for canoe and kayak access is on your left just before the wharf. Parking is available along the road.
Access Point Five - Mill Village Bridge (not on map)
Take Exit 17a toward Mill Village about 1 km. Cross bridge and put in just below it. You can paddle from here down river 5 km to the harbour. (See Option 2 below).
1 Long Cove - Intermediate rating. This rugged spot has a protected narrow cove with a cluster of cabins used by lobster fishermen. There is a public wharf and slipway. It also has a stony beach and private school bus hostel. Paddlers can expect to encounter swells past Flagstaff Point as the tide pushes into the harbour. The shoreline is steep and rocky, unsuitable for landing with granite headlands at Medway Head rather like Peggy’s Cove. A lighthouse is in operation there and the former keepers house has been moved up the hill and renovated. At the entrance to Long Cove, you can expect confused seas (swells hitting each other) and further in, you may also encounter large swells as the sea pushes into the narrow entrance.
2 The Medway River - For a change of scenery, you can paddle west up the Medway River, one of the largest rivers in Nova Scotia to Mill Village or launch at Mill Village (see Access Point Five). The river is wide with coves and islands to explore along the way. It is tidal as far as Mill Village and can be paddled when other rivers are too low. The current is gentle and good for beginners though the wind can be quite stiff. Try to time your trip with the tide whether up stream or down though this is not essential.
Ocean Route 10: Ragged Harbour - Intermediate rating from Long Cove. Although it is only a short paddle from Long Cove to Ragged Harbour, you can encounter swells and breakers. A beginner route into Ragged Harbour is possible from the other side.
Topographic map: Liverpool 21 A/2
|Ages: 16 year(s) and up
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level
|Canoe/Kayak ; Maps ; NS Trail Guide ; Recreation Categories ; South Shore Connect
|Categories - General
|Canoeing ; Kayaking ; Maps ; Recreational Oceanfronts