Posts Tagged ‘ Nature Walks ’

Westport Woods – Westport/Little Compton

  • Westport Woods/Cotton Preserve
  • Adamsville Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°33’30.54″N, 71° 7’29.09″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 5, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Westport Woods is one of the newer trail systems in the area opening to the public in the summer of 2019. For this hike, about one and half of the almost 3 miles of trails was hiked. Starting from the kiosk at the parking area, first follow the paved road north a couple hundred feet then turn left onto a stone dust path. This path winds west then south through a field with tall trees. Soon you will come to the “Main Trail” sign on your right. This section of trail, blazed orange, enters the woods and follows the western edge of the property passing several types of trees, holly shrubs, and stone walls. At the second trail intersection the orange trail continues ahead and the yellow blazed trail begins at the right. For this hike continue ahead for now. (You will be retracing your steps back to this intersection). The orange trail now enters the Cotton Preserve owned by the Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust. After crossing a stream you will come to a quarry pond. Take a moment to take in the beauty here before retracing your steps back to the yellow trail (now on your left). The remainder of this hike will follow the yellow trail with the exception of a short detour at your first left. Here you will follow a short loop trail to a vernal pool. After viewing the vernal pool return to the yellow trail and continue to follow it to the east. The trail will include a series of boardwalks in wet areas, followed by an interesting stone feature on the left, (presumably leftovers from the former St Vincent de Paul Camp), before winding along the eastern edge of the property to a stone bridge. From here the trail ends at an open field. Continue ahead to reach the kiosk by the parking area. Hunting is allowed here, Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Westport Woods.

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Stone Structure at Westport Woods.

Taylor Point – Jamestown

  • Taylor Point
  • Freebody Drive, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°30’34.63″N, 71°21’35.30″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 23, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Easy, be careful near the edges.

 

Taylor Point is a work in progress and offers some great views of Narragansett Bay. The Taylor Point Restoration Association has been improving shoreline access and trails on the property. Some of the trails are narrow and others are wide and well mowed. Others have not been developed yet. There is two parking areas and public restroom. The rocks and edges can be clustered with fishermen. Do exercise caution along the edges. A hike just over a mile was done by doing several “anticipated” (see trail map) “in and out” trails and the roads that connect them.

 

Map can be found at: Taylor Point.

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The Iconic Newport Bridge From Taylor Point.

Whitehall Park – Ledyard

  • Whitehall Park
  • Shewville Road, Ledyard, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°28’46.28″N, 71°59’29.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

This small property in northern Ledyard offers quite a punch. A blue blazed loop trail leads you over a small wooden bridge that crosses old stone work before snaking between two small ponds. The trail then starts uphill and turns left. Look for the stone throne here. It is a large natural “chair” that overlooks the property. Continuing along the trail and uphill along a set of power lines brings you close to the highest parts of the property. The trail then turns to the right slightly running along a barbed wire fence. At the end of the trail turn left (right to exit) and follow this trail to its end. Here you will come to a high ledge. Be careful near the edges. Retrace you steps back to the last intersection and continue straight the remainder of the way to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Whitehall Park

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One of the Ponds at Whitehall Park

Maurie Dunbar Acres – Foster

 

This short out and back trail, following the shore and nearby wooded area, wraps around the southern end of Gorham Farm Pond in western Foster. The trail, aptly named Bird Watch Trail, offers opportunities to view several species of birds including owls and water foul. The trail is not blazed but is easy enough to follow. Nearby properties are posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Parking is minimal near utility pole 4-50.

 

Map can be found at: Maurie Dunbar Acres

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A Frozen Gorham Farm Pond

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.

Grass Pond East – Richmond

  • Grass Pond East
  • Ellen Brady Drive, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’18.02″N, 71°38’9.94″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 19, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.1 miles
  • Moderate due to hill.

 

In 2014, I had ventured into the Nature Conservancy’s Grass Pond property and followed the yellow blazed trail. Since then, the D.E.M. portion of the property has been blazed with a blue loop trail. This blue loop trail is accessible from the cul-de-sac at the end of Ellen Brady Drive. After passing the trail-head sign stay to the right and follow the blue blaze trail as it bends slightly to the left passing a couple stone walls. Ahead is an intersection with blue blazes both to the left and ahead. Continue ahead here, the trail turns to the left once again (passing a “Beware of Dog” sign) and then turns to the right starting a long steady uphill climb to the top of Wilbur Hill. The trail is flanked by stone walls most of the way. After passing over the crest of the hill is another intersection. The trail ahead continues onto the Nature Conservancy portion of Grass Pond. Turn left here and continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail winds through a forest covered in ferns, pass tall shrubs, over a boardwalk before coming to a long section of downward trail to finish the loop of over just a mile.

 

Map can be found at: Grass Pond East

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Along the Blue Blazed Trail Climbing Wilbur Hill