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Land and Climate

The Bristol and Naples Valleys on the Western shore of Canandaigua Lake.

Bounded on the North by the towns of East Bloomfield and West Bloomfield, on the West by Livingston County, on the East by Canandaigua Lake, and on the South by Steuben County.

Towns included in the region are Richmond, Bristol, South Bristol, Naples and Canadice.

400 million years ago a vast ocean covered this region leaving deposits of eroded soil along with residue of plant and animals. Today, those deposits can be found as flat brittle rock or limestone found on the sides of hills. About 200 million years ago a glacier replaced the ocean and as it retreated water running off the glacier deposited soil and debris that we see today as the rolling hills called drumlins. As the debris was deposited it also plugged rivers running north and formed what we see today as the Finger Lakes.

Soil types in the area tend to be scattered due to the way they were deposited. However, they are primarily productive silt loams with drainage and slope the limiting factors.


What are those flat rocks I see on the sides of the hills? They are sedimentary rocks formed from deposits on the bottom of the ocean that existed 400 million years ago. If the rocks are black, layered and very brittle, they are called shale. We find them on hillsides today because a geologic upheaval raised them up from what was once the ocean bottom.

Why do the hills all seem to run north to south? These hills are called drumlins and were formed from debris that was carried off the glacier by water as it melted.

What types of trees are on the hillsides? There are many species of trees located on the hillsides – many good hardwood species such as oak, beech, cherry, butternut, sugar and other maples along with some of the softer woods like ash and poplar. Buttonwood or sycamore are found in the valley areas.

The success of agriculture in the region has and continues to be dependent upon the farm operator’s ability to take advantage of the area’s climate, soils and topography. The topography of this region is primarily suited to animal agriculture and grape production. The hilly terrain offers animal agriculture land for pasture and a site where grapes can be planted to avoid cold temperatures. The valleys and flat areas between the hills provide a place where feed animal and other crops can be raised.

This site brought to you by The Ontario County Agricultural Enhancement Board In cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, and Ontario County Department of Planning. Canandaigua, New York 14424
585-396-4455 or 585-394-3977.