Since 1984

1984 Carolinian Canada Sites
Beverly Swamp


The 2,400-hectare Beverly Swamp is dominated by water. It spans three watersheds - Fairchild, Spencer and Bronte Creeks - and is one of the best and largest forested wetlands in southcentral Ontario. It also maintains hydrological balance by functioning as a natural water source and storage area. Streams that flow through the Beverly Swamp drain into both Lakes Erie and Ontario. Silver maple, cedar and aspen swamps, treed bogs, cattail marshes, sedge meadows and open ponds all occur and support many plants and animals, including many rare species. This Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) was recommended for protection in 1983. Funds were raised by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club to assist the purchase of significant lands here. The conservation of the Beverly Swamp is encouraged by Hamilton, Halton and Grand River Conservation Authorities, but is largely dependent on the good stewardship of the private landowners who own 60 percent of this swamp. Water is an essential element of life. How our communities prosper depends to a large extent on how we manage this all-important resource.


The Lafarge 2000 Trail

One of the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority's two Millennium projects, this 22-kilometre trail in Flamborough links the Dundas Valley, Christie Lake, the provincially significant Beverly Swamp and Valens Conservation Area. It will ultimately link to Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Harbour and the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trails via the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail. The trail is being developed in partnership with the New City of Hamilton the HCA and the Canada Millennium Partnership Program. The last off road stretch of trail between Concession 10 to Gore Road will be completed with the Strabane Optimists Club and will be officially opened on June 15, 2002.


A plaque installation ceremony recognizing Beverly Swamp as a Signature Site took place on June 15th, 2002 in conjuction with the opening of the extension to the Lafarge trail.

Special Thanks to Our Local Partners:

Hamilton Naturalists' Club

Strabane Optimists Club

Hamilton Region Conservation Authority

Grand River Conservation Conservation Authority

Halton Region Conservation Authority



Additional Information about the Beverly Swamp
prepared by the staff of the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority with contributions from the Hamilton Field Naturalists

The Beverly Swamp forms a core natural area within the extensive network of natural areas in the Carolinian Zone. It extends across much of Flamborough Township, stretching for some 15 km east from the edge of Waterloo Region to Highway 6 north of Freelton. The extensive swamp crosses the headwaters zone of three stream systems: Fairchild Creek, Spencer Creek and Bronte Creek. Due to its position and large surface area, this wetland stabilizes stream flows and maintains the regional hydrological balance. It serves a vital ecological function as a refuge for species requiring extensive tracts of forests with minimal human disturbance.

Many kinds of flora and fauna are found here but nowhere else in Canada! The biological richness of the Carolinian Zone can be attributed to the moderating climate of the region.

Conservation Encouraged by: Grand River Conservation Authority, Hamilton Conservation Authority & Conservation Halton Watershed: Fairchild Creek, Spencer Creek, Bronte Creek

Aerial View of Beverly Swamp (photo HamRCA)
Approximate Area: 2324 hectares, with more than 2000 ha in Hamilton.


Carolinian Canada sites were identified in 1984 as "critical unprotected natural areas". Since that time, a lot of effort has been directed toward enhancing and securing the natural values at these locations. One thing that has emerged from these projects is the fact that these sites have been protected for generations by the good stewardship of communities, families and individuals. If this had not been the case, they would have long ago disappeared. Carolinian Canada wants to celebrate this history of conservation by erecting permanent plaques that will tell the story of the site and the people who protected it.


Funding for this project is being provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. For more information visit the Trillium Foundation Website


More Photos...


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The Boardwalk on Lafarge trail allows visitors to cross the wetland and observe the full range of plants and animals.

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Young naturalists unveil the Carolinian Plaque.

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The Strabane Optimists host a BBQ at the Trail opening and Plaque Ceremony.

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The site of the Carolinian Canada plaque marking the Beverly Swamp is at the trail access point on Hwy 97.

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The trail allows hikers to reach the heart of the Beverly Swamp.

The Carolinian Canada sites were identified for their natural values, but it is really thanks to human values that these sites have persisted to form the basis of the natural heritage system that provides us with clean air and water. Through the Community Marking Project we want to honour those who have given us this legacy; recognize our responsibility to preserve it for generations to come; and to inspire our children to become good stewards in their turn.


Present Designations:

In addition to its Carolinian Zone designation, The Beverly Swamp has been designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area in the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Official Plan due to its many significant features. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) has also assessed the site and considers it "one of the best representations of swamp forest and associated wetlands in the area, and one of the largest swamps in southwestern Ontario". As a result, OMNR has designated the site a Life Science Area of Provincial Significance. Additionally, the wetlands have been evaluated under the OMNR Wetland Evaluation System and the central portion of the area has been designated as Provincially Significant.



The Beverly Swamp is located on the Flamborough Plan physiographic region, a region characterized by a dolostone bedrock plain with shallow soils and scattered drumlins. The soils of this region are frequently too shallow, stony and/or poorly drained to be suitable for agriculture and, consequently, much of the surrounding area also remains in a natural condition relative to most rural landscapes in southwestern Ontario.


Community Types:

One of the largest swamps in southwestern Ontario, it is relatively undisturbed. In addition to the extensive broadleaf and mixed swamps, the area also contains terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic communities that are rare or uncommon in Hamilton. These significant communities include treed bog, marsh, treed alvar, and open pond communities, as well as coldwater streams. Numerous rare and uncommon species are present in this area.


Fauna & Flora:

The ground cover of ferns, grasses and wildflowers is reflective of mineral soils. The significant northern aspect of Beverly Swamp is apparent in the species composition. Black Spruce, Snowshoe Hare, Deer Mouse, Porcupine, Northern Water Shrew, Northern Flying Squirrel, White-throated Sparrow, and Gray Comma and Mustard White butterflies are near their southern limits here. The provincially significant Green Violet has been recorded, along with numerous regionally rare plants.


Cardinal Flower (photo HamRCA)

In addition to the Golden-crowned Kinglet, significant breeding birds include Black-and-white Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, Canada Warbler, Long-eared Owl, Broad-winged Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk. Also supported is a Great Blue Heron colony ( a 1984 census reported more than 100 nests).

Pickerel Frogs, now rare in southern Ontario, thrive in the cold, spring-fed waters. Brook Trout inhabit the headwaters of Spencer and Bronte Creeks. This species is an indicator of high water quality and relatively undisturbed aquatic habitat. The rare Green Sunfish has also been recorded from the site.
Kinglet (photo HamRCA)



Protecting headwater swamps is important to the ecological health of the entire watershed as swamps moderate water temperature and contribute water to our creeks in the summer, when there is less rain. Water from the swamp flows both to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Sixty per cent of Beverly Swamp is held in private ownership by 114 landowners. Private ownership by so many landowners keeps this important natural area relatively buffered from development.The predominant surrounding land use is agricultural. Recreational activities include fishing, hunting, trapping, bird watching, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

Conservation of the Beverly Swamp is encouraged by the Grand River Conservation Authority, Conservation Hamilton and Conservation Halton. Critical to its protection is the fact that all three conservation authorities have registered schedules under their provincial fill, construction and alteration to waterways regulations on the swamp.


Visit other Carolinian Canada Signature Sites, Return to the Main Signature Sites Page

National & Provincial Parks
& Wildlife Areas
Conservation Areas
Other Sites
Swamp Rose Mallow : Natural Resources Canada

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