Archive for the ‘ ~PORTSMOUTH RI~ ’ Category

Little Creek Preserve – Portsmouth

 

The newest of the Aquidneck Land Trust properties, Little Creek offers a half mile loop trail as well as several short spurs. The property also will feature a boardwalk over a marsh for birding and wildlife viewing. This boardwalk is slated to open in the fall of 2020. The trails wind through thickets, wildflower fields, and brush making the property a haven for birds. the eastern edge of the preserve has two connector trails to the Sakonnet Greenway if you wanted to add some extra mileage. Be sure to bring your camera if you are a birder or wildflower enthusiast.

Map can be found at: Little Creek Preserve.

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Little Creek Preserve

Pheasant Hill Beach – Portsmouth

 

At the end of Pheasant Road just after the railroad tracks and to the right is a parking area for Pheasant Hill Beach. From here you can follow the road a few hundred feet to the walking path the follows the shoreline toward the Mount Hope Bridge. At the end of the path there is a narrow trail that continues ahead. Along this trail are sweeping and stunning views of a marsh to your right, the bridge ahead, and Hog Island Lighthouse to your left. At the end of the trail are a row of boulders. From here turn left and make your way to the beach. From here you can follow the beach back a bit to one of the access points back to the walking path that leads back to the parking area.

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Walking Path With Mount Hope Bridge In The Distance.

Rail Explorers Northern Ramble – Portsmouth

  • Rail Explorers – Northern Ramble
  • Alexander Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’5.76″N, 71°16’58.32″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 14, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.3 miles
  • Easy.

 

Not a hike, Not a walk… a different type of Rails to Trails! While most of the former railroads in Rhode Island have been converted from rails to trails by the means of bike paths, this former section of the Old Colony Railroad has been creatively reinvented. No walking and bicycle riding on this “trail”. A pedal powered rail vehicle, simple to operate, is the means of exercise and exploration. The tracks here date back to 1864 and were used until 1980. They remained unused until the spring of 2017 when “Rail Explorers” opened for business. There are two main options to choose from, the Southern Circuit which is a 3 mile out and back ride, or the Northern Ramble, which is a 5.4 mile one way ride. Today, we took the later, starting at the Portsmouth Grove Station on Alexander Road in Melville. The route passes Melville Ponds Recreation Area, the Green Animals Topiary Gardens, and the Portsmouth Abbey School all to the right. Along this stretch and to the left you will have sweeping views of Narragansett Bay, Prudence Island, and (on a clear day) spot Downtown Providence in the distance. Continuing the route passes over the historical “Bloody Brook” (Barker Brook), through a golf course, by the tower at Carnegie Abbey, before catching a glimpse of the Hog Island Light to the left. From here you will pass under the Mount Hope Bridge, by Bristol Ferry Landing (just after the bridge to the left), and then pass over a significant channel called Founders Brook. The land on each side is part of the Town Pond/Bertha Russell Preserve. Across the bay is a significant hill. This is Mount Hope where King Phillips Chair is located. The last part of the route pushes eastward through the Montaup Country Club before coming to its terminus at the Hummocks Station. From here it is a bus ride back to Portsmouth Grove. This route is also offered in reverse at different times of the day. The rail vehicles are available in two or four seats.

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Northern Ramble by the Mount Hope Bridge

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From the Rail Explorers Website (https://www.railexplorers.net/)

Common Fence Point – Portsmouth

 

At the very end of Mount View Road at the northern point of Portsmouth is a public right way, marked with a sign, that leads to Common Fence Point. The narrow dirt path starts by a white fence at the last house on the right. The path winds through tall grass and shrubs before coming to the high tide line. Just to the left is a rock outcrop at the point that is accessible at low tide. From here you can see almost all of Mount Hope Bay including the three bridges (Mount Hope, Sakonnet River, and Braga). The rocky beach below the high water mark makes for a nice additional beach walk. Distance will vary on how far of a beach walk you do take. Common Fence Point is a small knit residential community. Please do respect private property.

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Rocky Beach and the Mount Hope Bridge from the Point.

Prescott Farm – Middletown/Portsmouth

 

Prescott Farm is a Newport Restoration Foundation property that straddles the Middletown/Portsmouth town line. The forty acres offers historic structures and an 1812 windmill as well as a wooded area with ponds and streams. Just after the windmill and to the left is a trail that leads into the woods. The loop trail offers several stream crossings and a pond near the far end. There are deciduous trees and a mix of pines and junipers among some thickets. There was quite an abundance of birds here at the time of the visit. At the pond near the front of the property were plenty of ducks and geese. Among the old structures is also a garden maintained by the U.R.I. master gardeners. Although privately owned, the property is open to the public and is a great spot for those interested in local history or looking for a short walk.

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The Guard House and Windmill at Prescott Farm.

Spruce Acres Farm – Portsmouth/Middletown

 

Straddling the town line of Portsmouth and Middletown on the west side of East Main Road is a former Christmas tree farm that has been preserved by the Aquidneck Island Land Trust. Spruce Acres Farm offers about a mile and a half of trails that meander about the property. It is the newest trail system in Rhode Island, opening to the public December of 2018. The blue blazed loop trail covers almost all of the property and is just over a mile long. From the parking area follow the red trail signs pass the private residence and barn to the next kiosk. This trail, the Gerwirz Trail, is the beginning of the blue blazed trail. Pass the gate and follow the main central trail pass an old structure, stay to the left, and pass another private residence to the right. At the next trail intersection turn right and follow the signs for the blue trail the remainder of the walk. The trail is very well marked as it winds through the old farm first on the Portsmouth side before crossing into Middletown. Among the shrubs you will occasionally catch a glimpse of an old sign here and there indicating former lots of Christmas trees. In the shrubs you will hear rustling of birds as it is a haven for all types from small songbirds to the larger hawks. Also dotting in and out of the stone walls are chipmunks and squirrels. There are some quite impressive trees on the property as well as a small pine grove. Bring a camera and take your time on this pleasant and short stroll as this is a beautiful property to enjoy.

 

Map can be found at: Spruce Acres Farm

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Along the blue trail at Spruce Acres Farm.

Prudence East – Portsmouth

  • Prudence East
  • Narragansett Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’11.11″N, 71°18’18.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 25, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on Prudence Island starts at the ferry dock in the small village of Homestead. It covers most of the trails around Baker Farm, a Prudence Conservancy property that is meticulously maintained by a group of volunteers known as the “Trail Gang”. Staying on the well blazed and mowed trails reduces your chances of encountering ticks which are in abundance on the island. Starting from the ferry dock, walk out to Narragansett Avenue and turn left. In a couple hundred feet turn right onto Pier Road. This paved road climbs uphill passing the historic Union Church and several homes before coming to Sunset Hill Avenue on the left. The street is marked by a white post with the respective street names engrave into it. Following Sunset Hill Avenue will lead you pass a couple more homes before a vast open area with fields on each side. Ahead you will pass through the intersection of East Lane and this will lead you to the trails. There are several signs here indicating which way to the trails. Continue ahead on the trail for a few hundred feet and you will soon come to a trail intersection marked with a diamond. Turn right here to follow the Diamond Trail to the Division Wall. The trail to the left is the Diamond Trail as well and you will return from this trail. Make note of this intersection. The trail is wide here flanked by trees, shrubs, and thickets. The rustling you may here are the birds in the thick brush. When you reach the end of the trail you will come to a dirt road. Stay to the left here and pass through the stone wall. Take a look at the historic wall. This wall, running from Division Rock along the west coast of the island to Governor Payne Road to the east, was built to divide the island into two halves, delineating the properties once owned by Roger Williams to the north and John Winthrop to the south. You will also notice that you are at a major trail intersection. For this hike you will want to follow the dirt road to the south called the Heritage Trail. It is blazed with a feather and is just under a half mile to Baker Farm. When you reach the old barn site continue straight ahead. You will have an opportunity to explore it later as you will return to the farm site two more times on this hike. You will soon reach another major trail intersection. Turn to the right here and follow the School House Trail. The trail starts to descend gently for a little over a half mile and comes out to a dirt road named Broadway. This is the main east-west route across the island so do expect to see some traffic. You will want to turn left onto Broadway, but first take a peak at the Prudence Island School House to the right. The structure was built in 1896 and is the fourth (only surviving) school house built on Prudence Island. Continuing the hike, start walking along Broadway to the east. Across the way is a local landmark know as the Farm-a-cy. This honor system farm stand offers seasonal vegetables, jams, honey and home made baked goods. The zucchini muffins are outstanding. Further up the road just before the first street on the right is the southern trail head of the Heritage Trail. It is on the left and well marked with a Heritage Reserve sign. Turn left here and follow the Heritage Trail (also known as Army Camp Trail) north back towards Baker Farm. When you reach the intersection of the School House Trail you will notice an unmarked, but well groomed trail straight ahead and slightly to the right. Follow this trail and it will lead you to Baker Farm and come out between the ruins of the barn to the left and the farmhouse to the right. Both of these sites have impressive stone foundations. There was also a milk shed and an inn on the site. The inns location is marked with three rows of stones to the east of the farmhouse foundation. The farm site also offers a disc golf course. The history of the farm and the disc golf course are available on an informational kiosk board. To the south of the inn site is a large mowed lawn. At the south end of the lawn is the beginning of the Bob Clachrie Trail. This trail, marked with a hikers hat and also originally called the Christmas Trail, is named after Mr. Clachrie whom was one of the original members of the so-called Trail Gang. The trail, the first cut by the Trail Gang, winds down hill offering a nice view of the East Passage and the Melville Pier before descending to Narragansett Avenue. From here turn left and follow the paved road pass the Prudence Island Fire Station and then turn left onto Governor Payne Road. This road passes several homes and a vast wooded area on the left. About three tenths of a mile along the road and on the left look for the Old Inn Trail marked with a rocking chair. Turning left here, follow the trail over a couple boardwalks, uphill, and along a beautiful stone wall before returning to Baker Farm. Once back at the old inn site, turn to the right and look for the Diamond Trail. Follow this trail as it descends downhill passing through an area of trees that look twined and braided. You will soon pass over a few more short boardwalks before coming to the Division Wall Trail and the wall itself. Continue straight, passing through the wall. The trail first goes through an area of ferns and then becomes substantially root bound. Watch you footing here as some of the roots can be a tripping hazard. The trail soon comes to an intersection. The Diamond Trail turns to the left, but you want to stay to the right and return to East Lane. This is the trail intersection you made note of earlier. When you reach East Lane turn to the right and follow the road keeping the large field to your left. After passing the field you will see a sign for the Buzzy Rice Trail to your left. Follow this mowed trail passing the water tank. The trail then slightly descends. Ahead the trail splits. Stay to the left here, but first take a peek through the trees along the right. There is an opening that offers a great view of the Mount Hope Bridge. Staying to the left the trail continues to descend slightly and ends at Pier Road. Turn right here, passing the Union Church once again and follow Pier Road down to Narragansett Avenue. Directly ahead of you is the “Prudence Island Mall” consisting of a small general store and the post office, To the left is the ferry terminal. Note that hunting is allowed in and around some parts of this hike. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence East

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Along The Bob Clachrie Trail

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Along The Old Inn Trail