The Ontario Farmland Trust has secured the long-term protection of Belain Farm through the generous donation of a conservation easement by Deirdre Wright. The property is in the northern part of the Town of Caledon, north of the village of Belfountain. A working farm since the 19th century, this 97 acre property also contains twenty two acres of mature hardwood forest as well as provincially significant wetlands.
Mrs. Wright purchased the property in 1965 and she and her late husband, Charles, moved there in 1970. They are the property’s third owners. An interest in preserving the rural character of this area led Mrs. Wright to approach the Trust.
“When I looked around, I saw lands being used up and farmers losing their properties,” Mrs. Wright observes. “I wanted to make a difference and help preserve some green space and farm lands for the future.”
The property consists of rolling rural land with sandy loam soils suitable for most non-tender crops. Forty acres are leased to a neighbouring farmer and have been in corn and soy beans and wheat. Eleven acres adjacent to the house and farm buildings are fenced open areas used to graze horses. The land is zoned for agricultural uses and is designated in the town Official Plan as Agricultural Area. The Region of Peel designates the land as rural/agricultural and just outside the Niagara Escarpment Plan.
The property offers a diverse combination of habitats for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and houses some threatened and endangered species such as Henslow’s Sparrow and Monarch butterflies. Around 30 acres of the land is located within the Credit Valley Conservation Authority boundary and 5-6 acres surrounding the ponds are designated as Provincially Significant Wetlands.
Belain Farm is located within the Provincial Greenbelt Plan (2005) and is designated as 2/3 Natural Heritage and 1/3 Protected Countryside.
The Conservation Agreement will ensure the conservation, maintenance, restoration and enhancement of the property’s natural features and wildlife. Most importantly, from an agricultural perspective, the Agreement will help to ensure that the land currently being farmed remains in farming.
Supported by the Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program – an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Initiative that assists land trusts with land securement costs to help conserve Ontario’s biodiversity.