Posts Tagged ‘ Cellar Holes ’

Big River – West Greenwich

  • Big River – Big River Management Area
  • Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°38’53.88″N, 71°36’25.88″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 27, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.4 miles
  • Moderate, Difficult navigation without map or GPS.

In the 1960’s several local residents were forced to leave their homes here in the area of Big River. The State took the land by eminent domain to build a reservoir. The reservoir, first planned in the 1920’s, was never built and today the large and sprawling property is considered open space with a maze of trails, small streams, ponds, and cellar holes. With that being said, as with all of the Big River property, it is suggested not to wander here without a map, GPS device, or someone who knows the property well. For today’s hike we were led by Sandi of the Appalachian Mountain Club who guided us through the heart of Big River on a nearly five and a half mile trek. Her knowledge of not just the trails, but the history of the property is astounding. I would highly suggest keeping an eye out for any future hikes she may lead here. We started from the main parking area along Nooseneck Hill Road (a quarter mile south of Route 95). From here we followed Burnt Sawmill Road into the Management Area along the paved road until we reached a gate. The pond, with dam and waterfall, on the left is Capwell Mill Pond, fed by both the Carr River and Mud Bottom Brook. Continuing along Burnt Sawmill Road, we were flanked by old trees and telephone poles. At pole 24 a trail, an old cart path, veers to the left. We took it following the old cart path through pine groves and maples before crossing a stream at a wooden bridge that has seen better days. The trails continues, climbing a small hill, passing a couple of stone walls, and a few young pines on the forest floor below the towering ones. The trail splits and narrows, here we stayed to the right and soon came to another trail intersection where we stayed to the right once again. At the next intersection we stayed to the left slightly and then continued straight. The trail to the right would lead you back to Burnt Sawmill Road. Continuing ahead we came to a cellar hole and well on the left. It is not easy to see from the trail and if you do find it, be sure to use caution by the well. The next highlight of the hike comes up on the right. It is the Sweet Family Cemetery with graves dating back to the 1750’s. The trail then passes through another pine grove. This one is quite noticeable as the trees have grown very densely close to each other. Soon after there is a spur trail on the right that leads to the dam on the north end of Sweet Pond. The dam is now breached, intentionally, and Sweet Pond is no more. It is now just a stream through a grass filled basin. Retracing steps back along the spur trail we then turned right, southerly, along the trail we were previously on. Next we came to Sweet Sawmill Road, another old road. Here we turned right and soon passed the south side of the remnants of Sweet Pond. This stretch is flanked by some stone walls and ferns. At the next intersection, a four way, continue straight ahead. A few hundred feet ahead at the next intersection turn right. This is Burnt Sawmill Road once again. Following this road to its end will lead you back to the parking area. Along the way we would come across another cemetery and a former homestead with the only evidence left being a tire swing. Before concluding our hike we did explore a trail to the right that led to a stream that flows between the former Sweet Pond and Capwell Mill Pond. Wildlife is abundant here as it is not uncommon to see deer, coyote, squirrels, chipmunks, and turtles. The property also is carpeted by ferns and wildflowers with birdfoot violet and wild geranium being in bloom at the time of this hike. This is a popular hunting location as well. Orange is mandatory during hunting season.

Trail map can be found at: Big River (courtesy of Auntie Beak)

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Sweet Sawmill Road

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Dam and Waterfall at Capwell Mill Pond

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Knowles-Padanaram – Dartmouth

  • Knowles-Padanaram Reserve
  • Smith Neck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°35’3.48″N, 70°57’5.26″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 20, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy.

 

Knowles-Padanaram is a small property that extends on each side of West Smith Neck Road. The nearly 1 mile of trails weaves through a mix of trees and shrubs and skirts a salt marsh. The property also has a trail that leads to Dike Meadow Creek and a small pond. There was an abundance of several small birds here as well as seagulls. The main entrance is closed due to bridge and causeway construction along Smith Neck Road and Gulf Road. The reserve can be accessed via West Smith Neck Road.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Knowles-Padanaram

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Salt Marsh at Knowles-Padanaram

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

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Stone Walls And Boardwalks

Wahaneeta/Woody Hill – Westerly

  • Wahaneeta Preserve/Woody Hill Management Area
  • Moorehouse Road, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°21’59.84″N, 71°45’34.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.1 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Splendid! This hike of just over five miles is on two adjacent properties. The Wahaneeta Preserve is owned by the Westerly Land Trust. It was once a girl scout camp and today is open to the public with a very well blazed network of trails. The bordering state owned Woody Hill Management Area is stunningly beautiful in its own right. The trails and dirt roads here are for the most part not blazed so using a GPS device and a reliable map are highly recommendable. For this hike, myself and fellow hiker Auntie Beak followed, for the most part, a friends track that he had done recently. Starting from the parking area off of Moorehouse Road we first followed the road up to the lodge before venturing onto the blue trail. This trail heads east following a stone wall before looping back toward the west. We then turned right at the white trail, crossed a small boardwalk before coming to a split in the trail. Here we stayed to the right following the white trail. Ahead is a sign for Shady Shelter. To the left there is a short yellow blazed trail that leads to a quite impressive overlook of a valley below. Be very cautious along the top of this ledge. From here we retraced our steps back to the white trail, turned left, and continued to follow it to the next split. Here we stayed to the right now following white blazes with a black dot. This is the perimeter trail and it follows a stone wall that serves as the property line between the preserve and land owned by the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Soon we crossed another boardwalk and passed an area of ferns before coming to a massive sweet black birch tree. The tree is a champion and there is a sign here explaining its significance. After passin the tree the trail bends to the left before coming to the next trail intersection. We turned right here at the opening in the stone wall onto an unmarked trail. At this point we were entering the Woody Hill Management Area. Next we came upon a cellar hole on the left. Opposite the cellar hole is the beginning of a blue dot blazed trail that we followed. This trail heads east first passing an old homestead. Here there is a couple cellar holes, a series of stone walls, and a well that is right along the trail. Be cautious not to fall into the well when the ground is covered by leaves or snow. Continuing along the blue dot trail we soon crossed another stream before coming to another stone wall to the right. The property on the other side is that of the Narragansett Indian Tribe once again. The next section of the trail is flanked in a ground cover known as club moss. The trail then soon comes out to a dirt road where we turned right. We then followed the stone covered dirt road for a bit soon coming to a four way intersection where we turned left onto another dirt road. We followed this road continuing straight at the next four way intersection. The road then curved to the left at the next intersection where we stayed to the left. Soon a pond becomes visible to the left. There are several narrow trails to the right. Be sure to stay on the main trail that follows the pond. We then came to an earthen dam with the pond to the left and a swamp to the right. Part of the dam appears to have been washed out and this will likely be impassable during a wet or rainy season. At the time of this hike it was passable. After crossing the dam the trail turns left following the shore before turning right and into the woods once again. This part of the hike leaves the management area briefly and is actually on land owned by the Town of Westerly. The trail climbs up and over a small hill and then narrows. Staying to the left the trail then passes an arm of the pond as it approaches a large rock outcrop. The trail then turns to the left. Start looking for a stone wall. Once you pass it, turn left again. This trail will lead you to the next intersection where we turned right onto a wider trail. This trail leads you back into the management area. Stay on this trail ignoring the few narrow side trails. When we approached the next intersection we turned left. We then followed this trail for a bit until we came to the “H” intersection. Here we stayed to the right and then turned immediately left onto a fine gravel road with a stone wall along its right edge. As this road starts to turn left and uphill we turned right onto a narrower trail opposite an old maple tree. This trail is grass covered and first crosses a stream. Soon the trail is flanked on both sides with stone walls. The trail soon bends to the right and becomes significantly narrower for a few hundred feet before widening again into a wider grass lane. Soon the trail comes to a wide stone wall flanked road where we turned left. You will see a gate ahead. After passing the gate we found ourselves on Fern Road, a paved road in a residential neighborhood. We then turned left onto a trail after Blossom Court opposite pole number 52. The trail is rather narrow at first passing through areas of mountain laurel. Continuing straight we then crossed another small stream before climbing uphill a bit and passing a couple stone walls. Soon after the second wall there is a pile of quarried stones. Soon we came to the cellar hole opposite the blue dot trail once again. From here we continued straight back into the Wahaneeta Preserve. At the next intersection we continued straight on the old dirt road crossing the white trail twice. At the second crossing we turned left onto the white trail following a manmade ridge before coming to a wood bridge by the pond. Immediately after the pond the trail veers to the left passing an old fireplace before emerging into a meadow. From here several trails meet including a trail back up to the lodge and a dirt road back to the parking area. Before leaving though, we decided to follow the orange trail a few hundred feet, then right onto the yellow trail to check out an old chimney. From here we retraced our steps back to the meadow and made our way to the parking area. Both the preserve and the management area are open to hunting. Wearing orange is a must during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Wahaneeta and Woody Hill

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Road at Woody Hill

 

Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve – Dartmouth

  • Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve
  • Smith Neck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°33’25.50″N, 70°57’18.82″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 12, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.2 miles
  • Fairly easy, some hills, unsteady bridge crossing.

 

These two properties owned by the Trustees Of Reservations and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) together make for a spectacular hike through various landscapes. The properties with town owned property abut each other and are connected by a series of trails. Starting from a parking area along Smith Neck Road you first followed the path that leads through an open field. Be sure to stay on the designated trails particularly in the Cornell Farm area as the farm is actively used. Through the first stretch of the hike you are likely to see farm animals. You will also pass a barn, a greenhouse, and wildflower gardens. The trail turns to the west away from the farm first flanked by stone walls then turns left before turning to the right and entering the woods. The trail, sporadically blazed red, then crosses over a small stream as it traverses through the woods. Soon you will come to a trail intersection in an open field. There is an old wood post here. Stay to the left and follow the trail to a peninsula that offers a nice scenic view of a marsh. After viewing the marsh retrace your steps briefly and look for a narrow path to your left that leads through a pine grove. This path meets with the main red blazed trail once again. Stay to the left here and you soon come to the first boardwalk that crosses the upper reaches of the Little River. The views here are stunning in the summer with the lush green grass of the marsh. After the first boardwalk you enter the DNRT property, pass through another short section of woods, and come to the second boardwalk that has views just as stunning. From this point forward the trails are blazed very well. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will cross another section of boardwalks, this one in the woods, before coming to another of this hikes highlights. The suspended bridge, supported by cables crosses over and through a red maple swamp. There is a platform to sit and rest along the bridge. The bridge itself is rather bouncy and is a little hard to negotiate. Take your time crossing it and follow the posted rules. The red trail, root bound in areas, then continues through the woods before coming to the green trail. Turn left and follow the red trail. It will soon come to the blue trail and then the white trail. Be sure to follow the blazes for the red trail through all of those intersections. Along this stretch, at the time of this hike, there was an abundance of wild roses in bloom. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will pass by and over several stone walls before coming to a clearing with a large cellar hole. This area was once part of a farmstead. There were wildflowers growing in this area as well with a pair of monarch butterflies circling the milkweed. From here the red trail continues west. You will want to follow the blue blazed trail to the east. The trail winds through some of the most portions of the property and is very narrow at points. The blue trail then joins the white trail briefly. Make note where the blue trail turns away from the white trail on the left. You will want to turn there to continue following the blue blazed trail. But first follow the white trail to its end. You will first pass an old red shed before coming to another scenic view of the marsh along Little River. From here retrace your steps back to the blue trail (now on your right). You will follow the blue trail back to the red trail passing more stone walls and a fern covered forest. There were plenty of birds in the area including a woodpecker. Near the end of the trail is an old barn foundation now filled with shrubs and wildflowers. From here turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area crossing the suspended bridge and boardwalks once again before ending the hike back at the farm. Most of this property is open to hunting during the season. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Cornell/Frank Knowles/Little River

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Cornell Farm

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Little River

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Suspended Bridge From The Platform

 

Block Island Southwest – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Southwest
  • Dickens Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’30.42″N, 71°36’9.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

Miles from the ferry landings in town, this portion of the island is rarely visited by the everyday tourist. The two properties that make up part of this hike are in nearly pristine condition. The trailhead is unmarked and is in fact at the end of an unnamed road. Turn onto Dickens Road off of Cooneymus Road and follow it south. At the intersection Dickens Road turns to the right. There is a trail to the left. Continue straight passing a house on the right and to the top of the hill. There is just enough room for one car. Across the field to the east is an opening in the stone wall. This is the trailhead. The trail immediately climbs uphill into the Win Dodge Preserve before coming to a trail intersection at the top of the hill. Here I turned right and followed the trail as it winded back downhill. At the next two intersections I stayed to the right. Soon I came to the first of two stone walls with weathered wooden stairs over them. After the second set I turned left following Dickens Road until I reached the trailhead for the Lewis Dickens Farm property owned by the Audubon Society. From here I followed the trail as it winded through fields on rolling hills. (A local who I met compared this part of the island to that of Ireland or Newfoundland). At the end of the trail is a Memorial Rock and just beyond that a towering bluff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Exercise extreme caution along this edge. From here I retraced my steps back to Dickens Road passing the weathered stairs over the stone wall that I had came in on. I continued to follow the road to the intersection and then continued straight onto a trail that would lead me back uphill and passing several cellar holes and foundations. At the next intersection I turned right and followed the trail back to the car.

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Dickens Trail

Kenyon Crossroads – Hopkinton

  • Kenyon Crossroads
  • Collins Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°26’34.81″N, 71°45’40.66″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

This Hopkinton Land Trust property offers a variety of trails. Starting from the parking area follow the white blazes on a trail that meanders through pines and boulders. At the end of the trail there is an old road. Turn left here, it will lead you to an open area known as Four Corners. There is a large tree and a cellar hole here. Turn right (to the north) and follow the Tomaquag Trail along a driftway. After passing the gate you will see a “Hopkinton Land Trust” sign facing the other direction of a tree. Look for the yellow blazed Beaver Flood Trail to the right. This trail will lead you through some low lying areas before climbing uphill and coming to the old road. Turn right and look for the white blazed trail now on the left. Turn here and retrace your steps back to the car.

Trail maps can be found at: Kenyon Crossroads

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Along The Beaver Flood Trail