Besley Woods Nature Reserve
This property on Rideau Road in North Grenville Township , near Kemptville, was the first property acquired by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. Dr. and Mrs. Besley of Ottawa donated the property jointly to the Rideau Waterway Land Trust and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. The donation of this property was completed in 1997 and the property was officially dedicated and named Besley Woods on July 14, 1999.
Besley Woods is located in the former Township of South Gower and is comprised of parts of Lots 10, 11, 12, and 13, Concession 9. It has an area of 61.5 acres and is part of the Kemptville Creek Wetland Complex, a Class 1 wetland. The property has approximately 1,000 feet of frontage on the Rideau River and a significant frontage on the easterly side of Kemptville Creek. The property is, in effect, floodplain of the Rideau River .
Several types of wetland communities are found within the property. On the western margin, a typical Sweet Gale/Cattail marsh predominates along the inlet of the Rideau River . The fringing Cattails form a band some 20-metres wide. On the eastern margin, another inlet features a shrub edge of Dogwood, Alder and Sedge which, opens onto a small embayment with Water Lilies and other aquatic vegetation. The northern margin, along the Rideau River , is swamp forest of Alder , Ash and Red Maple. Inland, the remainder of the property (excepting one small tillable field) is swamp forest. The forest is quite diverse, with a mixture of tree species, predominately hardwoods, with an understudy of ferns. Tree species include Green and Black Ash, Elm, Black Cherry, Butternut, Butternut Hickory, Red Maple, Yellow Birch, Bur Oak, Ironwood, Blue Beech, Basswood and Balsam Poplar. Gray’s Sage (regionally rare) is present in healthy patches.