Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Neighbourhood

The berm area was created as part of the construction of the West Hunt Club road in 1994. It had been part of the experimental farm. The farm remains on the south side of the road, and is about 4000 acres of fields, farm buildings and small woodlots. It is part of the area protected by the greenbelt from development. It is quite intensively farmed but there are deer on the farm and coyotes have been spotted.

A sound barrier earth berm along the north side of the road separates Manordale subdivision from the road. Manordale was developed in the early 60s with the typical wide suburban lots of the time. The low density allows for plenty of room for trees and wildlife, with your typical suburban residents: squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, house sparrows, grackles, robins, starlings, crows etc. all present.

The earth berm is a continuous feature, about a mile long between Ben Franklin Park in the west and Woodroffe road in the east. Our area of interest is a 3 acre triangular area half way along the berm made by a bend in the road around the end of Kimdale Street. This bend also allows the road to switch from the north side of the hydro easement to the south side of the hydro easement. To the east of Kimdale street the hydro easement is on the north side of the earth berm and is a field that is cut about once a year. There is a bike path through the field and this area is more visited by the occasional dog walker than to the west of Kimdale.

Along the top of the earth berm a narrow band of trees about 15m wide was planted in 1994-1995. In the Triangle the berm has a gentle south facing slope and steep north and east sides. At the west end of the triangle the treed area widens to about 30m creating a small 1/3 of an acre thicket of young trees. West of the thicket there is a path kept clear by a mower over the berm and then the band of trees continues all the way to Ben Franklin Park where it connects to a small 8 acre woodlot of mature pine beech and maple trees.

Ben Franklin Wood is divided by a bike path into a west side and an east side. The east side, close to Manordale, is a stand of fine tall pine trees between which people can easily walk. It is an area where kids play and teenagers occasionaly hang out. The west side is little disturbed and is a refuge for any animals or plants that might not like to be disturbed.

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