Belding’s Reef Nature Preserve is named for the family who originally owned the preserve, and for a prominent sandstone reef that juts out from the preserve into the Bay of Fundy. Stretched along 5.7 hectares (14 acres) of rugged coastline on the Fundy shore, Belding’s Reef is located in the community of Chance Harbour in Saint John County.
Belding’s Reef Nature Preserve was donated to the Nature Trust in 2004 by Mrs. Dorothy Haley in order to save the preserve’s natural features and to keep it available for local people to walk through and enjoy. Mrs. Haley’s first husband was from the Belding family. Its original owner, Daniel Belding, was born in Connecticut in 1760 but moved to Saint John in the late 1700’s and joined the Royal Artillery in time to fight in the War of 1812.
Daniel lived at Chance Harbour with his family, and, with his son Samuel, petitioned in 1819 for lots 25, 26, 27, and 28 in nearby Little Dipper Harbour. They succeeded in acquiring these lots which are now part of the Belding’s Reef Nature Preserve.
Although just minutes from the Village of Chance Harbour, the preserve feels remote and gives visitors a taste of wildness, with a mature coastal forest of red spruce, balsam fir, and mountain ash. Among the thick carpets of sphagnum mosses, you can also find cinnamon fern, sweet gale, blue flag Iris, goose-tongue and crowberry along the trail – not to mention spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy, and the sounds of rolling ocean swells breaking on reefs and red shale cliffs.
Access and Activities
One walking trail is found on the nature preserve, which leads through the woods until it meets the ocean and ends at the navigation light (formally a lighthouse) at the end of the peninsula. Please refer to the map below for an overview of the trail.
Parking for preserve visitors is available adjacent to the nearby Seaside Baptist Church. Look for the sign and safely park on the grassed lot behind the church. The entrance to the preserve is just a short walk from the Baptist Church along the Chance Harbour Road, heading to the left from the front of the church. Walk along the Chance Harbour Road that dead ends at the private driveway that leads to the trail on the preserve. Look for the Nature Trust’s sign. If the chain is up, walk around the gate post and proceed on the driveway. The entrance to the preserve is just a short distance away.
*The property is undeveloped and there are a variety of hazards and risks associated with accessing this preserve. While this nature preserve is open for public access, visitors must assume responsibility for their own actions and safety and are to use the land at their own risk.