Archive for October, 2016

Browning Woods Farm – South Kingstown

  • Browning Woods Farm
  • Shannock Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°24’47.16″N, 71°36’22.06″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 30, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

At the extreme western edge of South Kingstown lies Browning Woods Farm. This property, owned by the South Kingstown Land Trust, was part of the original Pettaquamscutt Purchase of 1657 and belonged to the Browning Family as far back as the early 1700’s. The farm was used mostly to raise animals such as sheep, cattle, and pigs. Today there is a two mile loop and a half mile access trail that winds through the property. There is quite an elevation change on the property but it is so gradual that it is almost unnoticed. The trail passes several stone walls and the Browning Homestead where there is an impressive cellar hole. There are several side trails and old woods roads that spur off the blue blazed loop trail. Be sure to stay on the well marked blue blazed trail. Along with maples and pines there are also holly trees and winterberry. Chipmunks and squirrels can be seen here as well as a variety of songbirds. This is a great hike for someone who is just getting started with local hiking as the trail is easy to follow and mostly flat.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Browning Woods Farm

twri-bwf02

Stone Walls And Boardwalks

Sprague Hill – Glocester

  • Sprague Hill
  • Putnam Pike, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°55’15.19″N, 71°44’17.69″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 28, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.7 miles
  • Moderate, areas can be difficult due to weather.

This three and a half mile hike explores the lesser traveled paths of two well known hiking destinations and a connecting road between them that crosses over Sprague Hill. Starting at a parking area along Putnam Pike for the Durfee Hill Management Area follow the dirt road beyond the gate. The road winds south before first coming to an area on the left with a small waterfall and some old stone work along Brandy Brook. Continuing ahead the road turns to the right. The trail to the left you will return on. At the next split the follow the road to the left and it will come to Burlingame Reservoir. There are some blazes and marks in this area presumably used by cyclists, ignore them for this hike. Next you will cross the earthen dam of the reservoir. The view of is quite nice here. The next part of this hike can be quite difficult after some rain. The unmarked but relatively defined trail turns away from the reservoir. It is a very rocky trail and after some rain can be quite wet and somewhat flooded. Take your time here and be sure to follow the trail. It soon comes to an intersection. Take a good look around and familiarize yourself with the intersection. You will be returning to this point but following a different trail out. At this point turn right and follow the trail to the southwest. This trail is actually Elbow Rock Road and it is fairly narrow, channeled in areas, and travels gradually up Sprague Hill for about a half mile. Much like the previous trail, it is quite rocky and areas and will be wet, almost stream like, after significant precipitation. The trail is also flanked by areas of mountain laurel and hemlocks. Do note that there are “No Trespassing” signs on each side of the trail after you leave the Durfee Hill Management Area. The trail itself lies within a public right of way. Be sure to stay on this trail ignoring other trails that spur off in either direction until you reach the top of the hill at a four way trail intersection with a parking area. The trail to the left is actually the end of Sprague Hill Road and the lesser known small parking area is public parking for Sprague Farm. For this hike continue straight and follow the dirt road slightly downhill. You may notice white dot blazes here. This is part of the Sprague Farm trail network. Soon on the right you will find a narrow unmarked trail that crosses over a large section of outcrop. Turn here and follow the trail that climbs the hill. This is Elbow Rock. There are no sweeping views here but be aware of the edges. The rock is rather large and looms high above the surrounding forest. From here follow the trail over the rock and to the left back down to Elbow Rock Road. Turn left and retrace your steps back up and over Sprague Hill a little over a mile to the intersection that you had familiarized yourself with. From here follow the trail mostly straight, along the main trail, as it winds to the pond. There is a large field to the right if you choose to explore it. Next the trail comes to another earthen dam and a smaller pond on the left. After heavy rains this is also a challenge as an area of the dam is slightly compromised and water flows over it into Brandy Brook. Next there is a small bridge that crosses a stonework channel. Turn right and retrace your steps back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed in these areas, be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

Trail maps can be found at: Sprague Hill

twri-elbow1

Burlingame Reservoir

McHale – East Greenwich

  • McHale Property/East Greenwich Loop Trail
  • Avenger Drive, East Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°38’2.41″N, 71°29’6.41″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 26, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Easy.

 

Once the land of the McHale Sand And Gravel Company, this property today is home to the cross country course for the high school and is open to the general public. Opening in August of 2016 it has quickly become a favorite walking spot for locals. The path here starts at the cul-de-sac at the end of Avenger Drive just beyond the high school and athletic fields. The stone dust path first winds through a small open area before passing through a wooded area along Fry Brook. The path then comes to the loop. Two times around the loop would give you the distance required for the track team. For this hike I went around the loop once. It weaves through the property slightly up and over small hills as it passes through small fields. The path is lined with trees and small shrubs that serves as a haven for birds.

twri-mchale

The Path at McHale

River Bend Farm – Uxbridge

  • River Bend Farm – Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park
  • Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 5’38.86″N, 71°37’25.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 22, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The big red barn and the wooden bridge over the canal are one of New England’s best known sights. In the barn, once part of a diary farm, is a rather impressive visitors center that has exhibits that explain the history of the area. For this hike, the second of four planned here, we followed the towpath from the covered bridge south to the Stanley Woolen Mill. The towpath follows the canal that was once used to transport goods from Worcester to Providence along the banks of the Blackstone River. Before taking this walk obtain a pamphlet (the one with the numbers in it) at the visitor center and take it with you. Along the walk you will find signposts with corresponding numbers on them. Be sure to take a peek at the river it self. This section of the towpath is a little over a mile long one way, flat, and is suitable for walkers and strollers.

 

Trail maps can be found at: River Bend Farm

twri-rbf07

Towpath Along The Canal

Scotstun Town Forest – Glocester

  • Scotstun Town Forest
  • Chopmist Hill Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’52.80″N, 71°40’10.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This property lies on the east shore of Smith and Sayles Reservoir. There is a short quarter mile trail that leads to the shore of the reservoir from Chopmist Hill Road. The trail head is just about opposite Hemlock Road next to utility pole number 124. The trail head is not by the sign a little further up the road, if you are not looking for it you will miss it. The trail winds through the woods canopy of pine, hemlock, and beech trees among others. The trail is not blazed but is definable enough to follow and dead ends at the reservoir. According to the trail map (which can be obtained at Glocester Town Hall) there are plans to add future trails.

twri-scotstun

Smith And Sayles Reservoir

Wakefield Pond – Burrillville/Thompson

  • Wakefield Pond
  • Wakefield Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°58’15.94″N,71°47’51.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to footing and some elevation.

 

Wakefield Pond is often overlooked as it lies between some of the more predominate recreational areas. The Buck Hill Management Area to the north, the George Washington Management Area to the south, and the Quaddick State Forest to the west often overshadow this area. The pond is flanked to the west by a Boy Scout Camp and the northeast by a couple dozen homes. This hike is an out and back that follows dirt roads. Starting from the corner of Wakefield Road where it bends onto Croff Road there is a dirt road that heads to the east. Almost immediately you will come upon a historical cemetery on the left. The road then starts to descend downhill, into Thompson, to a four way intersection. Along the way there are a few trails to the left. Notice the “No Trespassing” signs, this is the land of the Boy Scouts. When you have reached to intersection turn left. This is Wakefield Pond Road and it heads south through the Quaddick State Forest for a bit before coming to more Boy Scout property. There is a long steady stretch of uphill walking here. After the top of the hill you will see a cellar hole on the right with an old shed behind it. The road then descends downhill once again and curves to the left heading back into Burrillville after crossing Blackmore Brook. In the distance to the left you will see the stonework of the stone and earthen dam that holds the water in Wakefield Pond. There is a trail to the left that leads to a wooden bridge and dam. This is private property. Continue ahead for a view of the pond. Next there is a road to the right that leads to Peck Pond. For this hike continue straight along the road. At the one and a half mile mark, just as the pond starts to turn away from the pond, there is a nice little spot with a sweeping view of the pond. From here retrace your steps back to the beginning of the hike. The roads that you follow for this hike are rather rocky, some loose in many spots. Beware of your footing.

twri-wakefield

Fall Colors By The Pond.

Rumford – East Providence

  • Rumford Historic Walk
  • Newman Avenue, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°50’27.7″N 71°21’01.3″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy.

 

The northern end of East Providence, known as Rumford, is part Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park. In 1636 Roger Williams passed through this area before being told he was still within the boundaries of Massachusetts. He went on across the river to settle Providence. A few years later Reverend Samuel Newman settled here establishing a village that would one day become what is now known as Rumford. For this walk, park at the parking area directly across the street from the Newman Congregational Church. The building that stands today was built in 1810 and is the fourth meetinghouse built on this site. After taking a look at the structure make your way into the cemetery. The oldest grave here is from 1658, that of William Carpenter. The towns most prominent settlers are buried here and there are over 100 American Revolution veterans as well. The most recent burial occurred in 2008. If you are interested in local history spend some time here wandering around. The carvings of the colonial era graves are fascinating. At the far end of the cemetery there is an exit. When you get to the paved road turn right and follow it to Greenwood Avenue. Turn left here a follow the road for a few hundred feet to the first house on the right. This is the Phanuel Bishop House and is one of the oldest houses in the area. It was built in the 1770’s and is as old as the John Hunt House at Hunts Mills. Keep in mind that the Phanuel Bishop House is a private residence. From here turn around and follow Greenwood Avenue toward the large brick mill buildings on the right. Up until 1966 this was the home of the Rumford Chemical Works, makers of Rumford Baking Powder. Today the complex is mostly residential with some offices and restaurants. Stop at Seven Stars Bakery for a quick snack and to view the historical photos on the walls. In the courtyard behind the bakery is the bust of Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, in which this village was named for. Returning to Newman Avenue you will pass the post office and the 1930’s fire station which is also now a private residence. The road bends to the east and soon you will be back at the parking area across from the church.

 

More information can be found at: Rumford

twri-newman

Newman Church (1810)