Posts Tagged ‘ Farm Animals ’

Watson Farm – Jamestown

  • Watson Farm
  • North Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°31’11.33″N, 71°22’47.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 5, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

A Historic New England property, Watson Farm is a active working farm on the western slope of Conanicut Island with sweeping views of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Because it is a working farm it is only open to the public on certain days. There is also an entrance fee payable at the barn where the self guided walking tour begins. A trail map in a booklet will be provided to you. Also, it is advisable to check the tides before embarking to the shore. The barn itself offers quite a bit of New England history, different tools, saddles, and other equipment is visible. The animals were not in the barn at the time of this visit (other than a lumbering gray cat). Farm animals are likely to be in different areas of the farm at different times. To begin the walk, from the barn follow the dirt road between the barn and historic 1796 farmhouse uphill and then stay to the right. You will pass another farm structure to the right before cresting the hill at a farm gate. Take a peek behind you at the top of the hill. You will catch a glimpse of the towers of the Newport Bridge. Continuing ahead the road turns slightly to the left and the windmill becomes visible. The windmill here at Watson Farm is used to supply water throughout the farm by pumping it from below. Carrying on, the road turns slightly downhill giving you the first glimpses of the West Passage. There are sporadic single standing trees throughout the fields. These trees serve as shade for the farm animals. Soon the road splits. There is a sign here indicating to turn left for the short loop. For this hike continue ahead and downhill to the next split where there is another sign indicating the “Path to the Bay”. Turn left here, you will see a large outcrop of pudding-stone to your right before coming to a four way intersection by a stone wall. Turn right here, keeping the wall to your left for a bit. The pathway continues downhill. You will now have views of the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Island Lighthouse to your right across the fields. At the end of the path there is a gate. If it is closed, be sure to close it behind you after passing through it. The path now narrows as it turns to the left for a few feet, then right and downhill through some trees before reaching the shore. It is best to check the tides before reaching this point. High tide will leave only a narrow strand of beach. It is best to follow the shoreline at low tide as the beach is wider and offers a variety of stones and shells to view. When you reach the shore turn to the left and follow the shore away from the bridge behind you. The land ahead of you is Dutch Island. You will notice a portion of wall that was once of a long abandoned building. Dutch Island served the military for several years before being abandoned entirely. The island is now a State Management Area only accessible by boat. To the left of Dutch Island is Fort Getty, now a summer campground. Following the shore it soon bends to the left. Start looking for the “Buoy Post” where you want to turn left to get back onto the farm trails. Be sure to close the gate once again and continue ahead. From here you will continue straight gently uphill passing first a trail to the left before winding through an old orchard. Next you will pass through a gate, then a stone wall while traversing through large open fields. After the stone wall, the trail turns to the left and climbs gently uphill again before coming to the a trail intersection. Here continue straight ahead passing another stone wall. You will pass a pollinator garden on the right before coming to an old wagon parked behind the old farmhouse. The road then turns slightly to the right back to the barn. For more information click here.

A Lone Tree In A Field

Sunset Farm Trail – Narragansett

  • Sunset Farm Trail
  • Point Judith Road, Narragansett, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’24.97″N, 71°28’48.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 15, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Tucked away behind Sunset Farm is one of the newest trail systems in Rhode Island. A working farm, you must first make your way past the gate and follow the signs along the dirt road through the farm area. Be sure to close the gate behind you!! The trail is to the left just as you approach a stone wall at the northern edge of the property. The trail is flanked by the wall to the right and a wire fence to the left. Along this stretch are sweeping views of the farm fields. At the next intersection, and for this hike, turn left and follow the trail into a wooded area. A stone wall will now be on your left. Look for a very distinctive and obviously out of place stone in the wall. At the end of this trail turn right. The path to the left is blocked with a gate. From here you will gently descend downhill through an area with old apple trees and grape vines. The scent of grapes was rather strong at the time of this hike, and with the fruit, the birds. There were many of them singing in the nearby shrubs. At the next trail intersection there is signage. Turn left here, cross over a boardwalk, and then slightly uphill to a small knoll with a bench. There is a small view corridor (likely larger when the leaves are off the trees) of Point Judith Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the intersection. Continue straight ahead and slightly uphill. At the next intersection continue straight and then retrace your steps back to and through the farm. Be sure to check out the farm stand for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, sauces, and meats. Around the other side of the barn are pens. You may catch a glimpse of a cow or goat.

 

Map can be found at: Sunset Farm Trail.

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The Trail Flanked by Fence and Wall

Franklin Farm – Cumberland

  • Historic Metcalf Franklin Farm
  • Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°57’59.58″N, 71°23’38.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 3, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Easy with some small hills.

 

In the rolling hills of Northeast Rhode Island is Franklin Farm. The 65 acre town owned property was once a dairy farm now used for community gardening and historic preservation. The farm consists of an old 19th century farm house (currently under restoration) and a turn of the century dairy barn. On each side of Abbott Run Valley Road are large fields with farm trails that are open to the public. The fields are separated from the winding road by century old New England stone walls. Parking is available at the dairy barn. For this walk, first cross the street to get to the East Field. The entrance to the east field is marked with a sign at an opening in the stone wall. Use caution while crossing as there is a significant blind spot for approaching traffic. Once entering the East Field turn to the left and you will see a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail follows the perimeter of the field and there are 10 numbered posts all the way. From the front of the field looking to the east offers a great wide open view of the sky. Sunrises can be spectacular here. When you are on the backside of the field you can catch glimpses of Rawson Pond down the bottom of the hill. After completing the loop cross back over to the West Field. Going up the driveway and right around the dairy barn back towards the old chain link fence you will find a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail is again marked by numbered posts that leads you partly along the perimeter and partly across the farm fields. There is a small pond along the way that is a small haven for birds offering cover of shrubs and a small tree. I came across an owl here who seemed quite interested in my presence before flying off. The marked farm trail ends at the small gardens and chicken coup at the backside of the farm house. From here turn left to the parking area. The farm is active in the spring and summer months with gardeners and children at programs. The farm trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Do keep in mind though to wear proper shoes as the trail is all grass. The frosty farm trail quickly turned in morning dew on this walk.

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Perimeter Path in the East Field

Casey Farm – North Kingstown

  • Casey Farm
  • Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’43.45″N, 71°25’23.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 24, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Most locals know Casey Farm for its farmer markets (one of the best in the state). Others know the farm for being a historical site. What a lot of people are not aware of is that Casey Farm offers miles of trails. For this hike, I joined a small group attending a Rhode Island Land Trust Days event. The hike was led by the very knowledgeable Dr. Bob Kenney of the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kenney, (a walking encyclopedia of birds, mushrooms, and plants) volunteers quite often for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society. In fact this is not the first of his hikes I have been on. In 1659, several colonists bought the land on Boston Neck for a mere 18 cents per acre from the Narragansetts. One of these families were the Richardsons. By 1702 half of that property belonged to the family that founded Casey Farm. The farm stretched from Narragansett Bay to the Narrow River as it still does today. The property, a working farm, is protected and owned by Historic New England. Atop the hill along Boston Neck Road is where the farm is located. It consists of several fields and structures including a large barn as well as old New England style stone walls. The first part of the hike took us into the eastern part of the property down to Casey Point. The old cart path passes through areas of wildflowers including wild snapdragon, black swallowwort milkweed, and heart leaved aster. There is also an abundance of ferns, mushrooms, and an invasive shrub known as devils walking stick. This area is also a haven for birds as we saw and heard catbirds, woodpeckers, and red tailed hawks. When we reached the point we had sweeping views of the west passage of Narragansett Bay. Across the bay is Jamestown and the large open field is part of Watson Farm (another Historic New England property). Beyond Jamestown you will see the Newport Bridge. To the north is the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Point Lighthouse. To the south you can see Beavertail Light and Dutch Island Light. After spending a little time on the point we retraced our steps back to the farm. From here we then followed another stone walled flanked cart path toward the heavily wooded western end of the property. We briefly entered the neighboring King Preserve, the newest Nature Conservancy property in Rhode Island. This preserve is a work in progress still. Most of the major trails are complete and open, however, there are a section of trails yet to be built. The trails are soft and there are boardwalks that cross wet areas and streams. There is plenty of ferns in this area among the birch trees and sassafras. We nearly reached the Narrow River at the bottom of the hill before making our way back uphill along old cart paths and dirt roads winding through the Casey Farm property. This stretch of the hike also offer sounds and sights of nuthatches, tufted titmouses, and eastern towhees. We then returned to the farm to conclude the hike. Casey Farm is open from June 1st to October 15th on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are also tours of the farm available. For more information please call 401-295-1030.

A note from the folks at Casey Farm:  Casey Farm is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking trails at Casey Point or those adjacent to King Preserve. Please note dogs must be on leashes, clean up of course, and respect the young people and farm animals by keeping dogs away from the farmyard and fields. Access Casey’s woodland trails via the King Preserve. Camp Grosvenor is not open to the public for hiking. Access Casey Point on Narragansett Bay via the gate on Boston Neck Road. We are working on getting better signage. Feel free to contact me with any questions: Jane Hennedy, site manager, 401-295-1030 ext. 5, jhennedy@historicnewengland.org.

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Casey Point with The Newport Bridge in the distance.

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Flanked by Wildflowers

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