The Ontario Farmland Trust has secured the long-term protection of the Hindmarsh farm through the generous donation of a farmland conservation easement by Marian Hindmarsh. The property is immediately south of the Town of Goderich and within the municipality of Central Huron.
The property is 140 acres with a mix of workable farmland, ponds and scrub land, and hardwood bush. The property has been a working farm for over sixty years with soil suitable for most non-tender crops. Fields are leased to neighbouring farmers who grow corn, wheat and soy beans in rotation. In the past, there have been dairy cattle, beef cattle and horses on the farm as well.
The major forest block on the property contains a circular trail that has been named the John Hindmarsh Trail in honour of the owner’s late husband who was an active conservationist. The trail is maintained by the Maitland Trail Association.
A number of ponds were dug by John Hindmarsh to provide habitat for aquatic wildlife and waterfowl. Islands were created in most as nest sites that are relatively safe from predators for waterfowl. All are spring fed, and permanent. There has been substantial reforestation around the ponds and other natural areas.
“Our family had always hoped the farm could be preserved for agriculture. We realize time is running out, we’ve always wanted to do this, and now’s the time.”Marian Hindmarsh, Easement Donor
The Municipality of Central Huron Official Plan designates the property as a combination of Prime Agricultural Land, Natural Environment – Full Protection and Natural Environment – Watercourse. The Township of Goderich is located immediately to the north, with adjacent lands zoned for development. The forested area on this property is classified as both Significant Woodland and Significant Wildlife Habitat by the Central Huron Official Plan. The property has numerous habitat types available to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, including some species-at-risk (Butternut, Monarch butterfly, Least Bittern, and others).
Mrs. Hindmarsh wished to see the ecological and agricultural values of her land protected from prospective development nearby, which is now achieved through the Ontario Farmland Trust farmland easement agreement.