cheltenham badlands

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Cheltenham Badlands

Located along Olde Base Line Road, between Mississauga and Chinguacousy Roads, in Caledon, Ontario is an unusual geological formation known as the Cheltenham Badlands.

Acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 2000 the 90 acre (37 hectare) site is presently under the care of the Bruce Trail Association. The Bruce Trail runs close to the site however it is not visible from the trail. The area is rich in Medina shale, found frequently along the Niagara Escarpment.

The early settlers soon discovered the clay soil was excellent for brick-making and several communities such as Cheltenham and Terra Cotta, Ontario developed and flourished in the first half of the 20th century.

The Cheltenham Badlands are visible today as the result of erosion. After the forests had been cleared for farming the soil quickly eroded exposing the magnificent moon-like landscape that we see today. The red colour is a result of iron oxide deposits. The greyish green streaks are due to ground water seeping into the clay changing the red iron oxide into green iron oxide.

Unfortunately due to the human activity at the site the area was closed in the spring of 2015. Here is an excerpt from the Ontario Heritage Trust website:

Notice: The Badlands feature is now temporarily closed to the public. A protective fence has been erected along Olde Base Line Road to restrict access and prevent further damage to the Badlands while a Master Plan is being developed to guide future conservation and public access to the site. The area will remain closed for several years while consultation, planning and fundraising are underway. Temporary closure of the Badlands feature does not affect sections of the Bruce Trail running through other areas of the property, which remain open to hikers. For more information, please visit: May 21, 2015

Places to Explore

Cheltenham Badlands
Holland Marsh
McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Ontario Towns and Cities

Kleinburg, Ontario
Port Perry, Ontario

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