Scotsdale Farm

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Scotsdale Farm is a 531 acre farm that was given to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1982. It has several historic buildings and is frequently used as a location for shooting movies. There are several trails that pass through the farm including a side trail from the Bruce Trail. There is limited parking on the site and with frequent movie crews taking up space it is recommended to arrive early. The 1877 county atlas below shows the property outlined in green. The school house near the end of the laneway is still standing and has been circled in green.

Parking is located near the house but you have to walk back up the tree lined lane to get to the trails that lead to the south. The trails also continue behind the barns and out toward the eight line.

The first house on the property was a small log house which was built in 1836 by Christopher Cook. His son David, along with his wife Almira, expanded the house in the 1860’s. They sold the property to Stuart and Violet Bennet in 1938 and they further expanded the home into the American Colonial style that it bears today.

There’s a guest cottage beside the house where people could have a little privacy while visiting the estate. Underground steam pipes provided heating for the cottage but it was still closed off for the winter each year.

From the back of the house you look out over the two barns and the silo. The precast blocks used to build the silo date it to around 1900. The barn closest to the house was used for horses. The Bennetts kept six or seven Arabian horses that they used for riding.

The barns were built prior to 1880 and there were separate ones for the cattle and horses. This is the cattle barn where the short-horn cattle were kept that were the specialty of the Bennetts.

There’s a wishing well by the pond and another one in the back of the house. The cedar and willow trees that line the pond make it an excellent place to take pictures.

You can walk across the concrete dam that is used to contain the pond water used by the farm for their livestock. Snow’s Creek is a tributary to Silver Creek and is one of two creeks that flow through the property. It was quite relaxing looking at the geese on the far end of the pond but they looked to be gathering together for their trip south for the winter.

Trails follow the old lane way that was the rear entrance to the property.

The little pigskin puffballs have gone to spore. When these are broken open they release their green spores. These are cast to the winds by the millions but very few will actually germinate and grow into the next season’s puff balls.

Conks are a type of polypore mushroom that grows on dead or dying trees. They are characterized by the thousands of small pores on their flat undersides through which spores are released. This fallen tree has several that were growing while the tree was standing and many more that grew after the tree fell. That is why some of these conks are growing at 90 degrees to the ground.

Just north of the driveway is school section number 14 which was built in 1871. Like many one room school houses this one was heated by a wood stove. Parents were expected to help with the supply of wood and often children would walk to school carrying a log or two for the stove. Students had to walk up to six miles to school and so the days were long but when the weather was bad or the crops were being harvested is was understood that they wouldn’t attend.

Scotsdale Farm is an interesting place to visit and the trails connect to Irwin Quarry and Fallbrook. Both of these are in the Silver Creek Conservation Area.

Google Maps Link: Scotsdale Farm

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