Parker Woodland – Coventry/Foster

  • George B. Parker Woodland
  • Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°43’00.3″N 71°41’52.5″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • Moderate due to distance with difficult terrain in areas.

 

Parker Woodland is an Audubon Society property that straddles the Coventry/Foster line. The property features two loop trails, one in each town, with a connector trail. There is quite a bit of history on this property as well. Some is well known and some is still unsolved. The hike starts from the main parking area by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. I then preceded to follow the orange blazed trail into the property. This trail meanders downhill passing the first of several stone walls, turns right, and then crosses a series of boardwalks. Then I turned left following the blue blazed trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. I soon reached Biscuit Hill Road. You will probably miss it if you are not looking for it. The road is flanked by stone walls on each side. Apparently, during the American Revolution, a supply wagon overturned here. The wagon was carrying biscuits for the troops, hence giving the name to the road. Immediately after Biscuit Hill Road on the left is a large cellar hole of a farm house. It is part of the Vaughn Farm Site. There is a sign here with a brief description of the site. I then continued along the blue blazed trail traversing through a rather rocky area weaving around ledges. This stretch is about a mile long before coming to a massive boulder where the yellow blazed connector trail is. I then followed the yellow trail mostly uphill as it starting rising above a ravine. Below in the ravine is the Pine Swamp Brook. Be careful along this stretch as the trail is very close to the edge at times. The trail then crosses the brook at a wood bridge. You are now in the Foster parcel of Parker Woodland. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This loop is also blazed blue. I turned left and followed the trail passing more stone walls before coming to an old farm site with a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. I followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. I then retraced my steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch passes a ledge that has evidence that quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that I came in on. Here I turned left and retraced my steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When I reached the boulder I turned left back onto the blue blazed trail. The trail first follows the Pine Swamp Brook before bearing to the right. Then it crosses Biscuit Hill Road, follows the Turkey Meadow Brook, passing the yellow trail intersection, and starts to climb and descend a series of small hills before coming to the cairns. No one knows for sure who built these piles of stones or better yet, what the purpose for them are. There are several suggestions. Some believe they are Native American, others suggest pre-Columbus age explorers using them as markers. Regardless, there are about a dozen or more of them along this stretch. There is also a sign here explaining (or more so suggesting) the history of the cairns. I then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. I turned left onto the orange trail and retraced my steps back to the parking area.

More info & trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – June 2015

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