The entrance to the park is not hard to miss since it is fronted by a large red barn. This barn would have been used when the farm was in operation. Now it stands as a testament to another time, another way of life. It also makes a great landmark for finding the park and the parking lot is right beside it.
The seven main trails range from open fields to canopied forest with a couple that skirt the beach. There are many benches available for resting or just taking in the beautiful scenery.
The Main Trails include:
Running the length of the park, this trail is accessible from many points. It is the only trail within the park where bikes are permitted. Because it is relatively flat, it is a good choice for wheelchairs or strollers.
The gentle hills in the park are typical of numerous drumlins that dot the coast, providing magnificent views. Drumlins are whale-shaped hills of clay and stones formed by retreating glaciers 15,000 years ago. (In Gaelic druim means the crest of a hill.). These natural barriers protect large shallow estuaries, allowing salt marshes to develop.
Poor’s Farm Road
This follows the abandoned access road to the Poor’s Farm, crossing brooks and skirting fields.
A short loop off the Panorama Trail along a rushing stream.
Jerry Lonecloud Trail
Jerry Lonecloud (1854-1930) was a familiar sight to Cole Harbour residents in the early part of the last century. He was a member of the Millbrook Mi’kmaq band, which summered in the Cole Harbour area, traveling along the Shubenacadaie River and through the present-day Dartmouth lakes. He gathered sweet grass in the area which he used to make coiled baskets for sale in the Halifax market.
The Front Country Trails include:
Jersey Jack Trail
Jaques Levesconte from the Isle of Jersey jumped ship from a grounded vessel in the 1870s , married a Cole Harbour girl, and was a notable and colourful character in the area for 75 years.
Costley Farm Trail
In 1865, John Costley was the fisheries inspector in Cole Harbour. The open fields are the only remaining evidence of his farm. This trail transects a large block of more or less undisturbed terrain.
There are several points of interest along the way including:
Poor’s Farm Cemetery
Nearly 300 residents died over the 42 years of the Poor’s Farm existence. Most were returned to relatives in home communities, but it is thought perhaps 16 are buried here. This cemetery is being inventoried, cataloged and restored by a field archaeology program at Saint Mary’s University.
Beginning in 1887, this was the site for Halifax county’s residence for the ‘harmless insane”. A complex of several buildings was used until a fire forced closing in 1929.
Poor’s Farm Reservoir
A rock-lined reservoir, part of the water supply system for the farm.
George Bissett House
George Bissett held several prominent positions in Cole Harbour. For some time he was a Justice of the Peace. In 1890 he became the first county Councillor in Cole Harbour. He was also referred to as Squire. George Bissett died in 1916.
The midpoint of this front country trail.
Ware (Weir) Inn
A roadhouse that catered to visitors, travelers and affluent sportsmen. King George V may have stayed here on a hunting trip to Cole Harbour marsh.
Here are some photos that we took on this visit:
There are more photos located here in a previous post.
If you are interested in visiting the Cole Harbour Heritage Park there is a link to the available caches here.
Driving directions are located here.
A map of the trails in the park is available here.
Drop by sometime, if only to enjoy a nice walk… or a just an aimless stroll.
Keep on cachin’!