Perched upon the rolling Wyoming Moraine not far inland from Lake Huron, lies the George G. Newton Nature Reserve. Previously a farm, the property was bequeathed to Ontario Nature in 1982 by Elizabeth G. Osbaldeston, a descendant of the pioneering Huron County conservationist for whom the reserve is named. Mrs. Osbaldeston made a generous donation to help with the future care of the reserve.
Plants and Animals
The river valley and slopes are mostly covered with a native stand of white cedar and mature forest of maple, beech, hemlock, elm, ash, butternut and other hardwoods. Typical spring ephemerals such as trilliums and hepaticas dot the forest floor. The only remaining evidence of the old homestead is the stone foundation, some escaped garden plants, and a very old apple and pear orchard on the northwest corner of the property. Along the creek, remains of a dam mark the site of an old gristmill.
The rolling topography of the George G. Newton Nature Reserve is home to goldfinches, field sparrows, cedar waxwings and eastern wood pewees. The Huron Fringe Field Naturalists are the official stewards of this property.
The roughly 32-hectare reserve consists of a forested ravine, cut by a stream running west toward the lake and old farm fields that have been replanted with white pine – interspersed with some hardwood trees. The reserve is a compelling example of ecological farmland restoration. There is a well-marked, 1.2 km loop trail on the property.
A visit to this reserve makes a good side trip from the Pinery or Point Farms Provincial Park.
The reserve lies southeast of Goderich, between Highways 8 and 21. From the hamlet of Holmesville, take Cut Line Road west to Porter’s Hill (marked by a red schoolhouse on a hill). Turn north on Porter’s Hill Line (also called the 6th Concession) and proceed to the next intersection. The reserve is on the southeast corner of this crossroads. Turn east onto Kitchigami Road and park along the south side of the road; you can enter the reserve about 60 metres to the east of the intersection. The property is marked by a sign and civic address marker number 35913.
View George G. Newton Nature Reserve in a larger map