Posts Tagged ‘ Nature Walks ’

Capwell Mill Pond – West Greenwich

  • Capwell Mill Pond – Big River Management Area
  • Burnt Sawmill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’39.57″N, 71°36’27.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some difficult navigation.

 

This is yet another beautiful hike in the Big River Management Area. The trails here are numerous, unmarked, and can be difficult to navigate. With that being said, it is not advisable to do this hike without a reliable map, an understanding how to read it, a sense of direction, and absolutely be sure to use GPS tracking in the case you need to back track. This hike starts from a small parking area along Burnt Swamp Road before the gate by the Capwell Mill Pond Dam. It is about three tenths of a mile from Nooseneck Hill Road. After passing the gate you will see the dam on the left. Shortly after the dam follow the narrow trail to the left. It climbs slightly uphill into a grass field before winding into the tall pines. Soon a trail comes in from the right. Stay to the left here and you will cross a bridge. The view, overlooking a tributary of the pond is quite pleasant. After the bridge the trail splits, continue straight. The trail slowly climbs uphill through a lush forest of pines. Be aware of your trail intersections for this walk. At the next trail intersection continue straight again following the main trail. You will continue to climb slightly uphill. This section of trail can be quite wet after a heavy rain. You will soon pass a stone wall. Just after the wall is a narrow path to the left. Ignore it for this hike and continue ahead. You will soon pass a second stone wall and then the trail winds a bit before coming to a large boulder at a trail intersection. This is about the one mile mark. Ignore the trail to left and continue straight on the main trail as it starts to bend to the right. Slow down and start looking for the next trail intersection about one tenth of a mile after the large boulder. As the trail starts to turn to the right by a mossy rock with a tree growing on it there is a trail on the left. It is narrow, but defined enough to be noticed. Turn left here and follow the trail as it starts downhill. Soon the trail ends at another well defined trail. There will be a white blaze on the tree at the intersection. Turn left here. In a few yards you will come to another intersection with a tree blazed white. You will want to continue straight, but first follow the trail to the right to the bridge crossing the stream called Mud Bottom Brook. The slight detour is well worth it. Take a moment here. The babbling brook drowns out all other nearby sounds and you are out in the middle of nowhere nearly a mile from any civilization. Return up the hill to the tree with the white blazes and turn right. After making the turn and following the trail you will pass a stone wall on the left. The stone wall then flanks the trail to the right for a bit before the trail starts to descend downhill leaving the stone wall behind. The trail then starts its slight bend to the left passing a boulder in the middle of the trail. The boulder is a good reference point and is just the right height to sit for a moment and take in the nature around you. From here the trail continues downhill and bending to the left. You will start getting your first glimpses of the pond through the trees on the right. Passing another stone wall the trail splits. They rejoin in a few yards where the trail splits yet again. At this split stay to the right. There is also some mountain laurel scattered around in the area. Continuing ahead the pond is still to the right through the trees and there is another stone wall on the left. The trail turns to the left crossing the stone wall and then to the right meandering to and from the pond. A trail soon comes in from the left, stay to the right and continue to the end of the trail. Turn right and you will cross the bridge overlooking the tributary of the pond once again. Just after the bridge turn right onto the trail that will lead you back to the dam and parking area. Blaze orange is required during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Capwell Mill Pond (Map 1), (Map 2).

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Pines, Stone Walls, And The Pond.

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Noquochoke – Westport

 

Another short, beautiful hike in Westport. The Noquochoke Conservation Area, part of a former Boy Scout camp, offers about three quarters of a mile worth of trails through some truly impressive and tall pine groves. The property includes several stone walls and an operating well from days past. The trails, though not blazed, are well marked with signs at intersections.

 

Map can be found at: Noquochoke.

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Sunlight Through The Tall White Pines

Mill Pond – Westport

 

A short hike indeed, with one small hill to climb over before reaching the end of the trail at the Noquochoke River. The trail has three very distinctive sections. The front section is a crushed stone walkway that weaves through a small orchard. The trail then becomes pine needle covered as it winds up and over the small hill. And the last section runs along the river where the stone dam is breached and the water of the river cascades over it.

 

Map can be found at: Mill Pond.

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Breached Dam at the Noquochoke River

Knight Farm Trail – Cranston

 

One of the newest trails in Rhode Island, opened in June 2017, the Knight Farm Trail offers three different and distinctive types of walks in one. This hike offers a walk along old roads, narrow trails, and a walk around a farm. And what a hike it is! A tall canopy of trees and thickly wooded, but yet so close to the city. The trail starts on Laten Knight Road opposite Beechwood Drive. There is a small sign at the trail head. The white blazed trail first follows a old narrow dirt road for several hundred feet before the power lines. Here the road turns to the right. Continue straight onto the narrow white blazed trail. Being a new trail and not overly used yet, the trail is yet to be well defined. It is, however, very well blazed. Be sure to keep an eye on the blazes. Soon you will reach a sign for the one mile loop. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the white blazes. A short spur trail to the right will lead you to a seasonal tributary of the Lippett Brook. Continuing along the loop trail, you will soon notice some small boulders and stone walls. The trail then turns to the left into a field. Stay to the right here and follow the perimeter of the field about half way around it. The field is actively cultivated so be sure not to wander into the crops. About halfway around the field look for the post with a single white blaze. The trail renters the woods once again and soon widens to another old dirt road. There are a couple boardwalks in the wet areas along this stretch. Keep an eye on the upcoming turn. The white blazes lead you to the left back onto a very narrow trail that will complete the loop back at the “Loop Trail” sign. Here, turn right and retrace your steps back to the trail head. Some notes on the blazing. All the trails are blazed white and use a single blaze for long straight sections. Turns are marked by a double blaze or a sign. Be sure to note to next blaze at a turn to make sure you are heading the right direction.

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Sign In The Woods

North Attleboro Fish Hatchery – North Attleborough

  • North Attleboro National Fish Hatchery
  • Bungay Road, North Attleborough, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°59’34.72″N, 71°17’2.27″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 8, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation.

 

The North Attleboro Fish Hatchery, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility, helps restore the native fish populations in New England. Opened in 1950, this facility has produced warm, cool, and cold water fish for re-population. Today, the facility is focusing on American Shad for local rivers such as the Charles and Pawtuxet. The facility has several buildings, a viewing pool, and perennial pollinator gardens. The back end of the property offers a nature trail that is just shy of one mile long and follows the shores of the Bungay River. The loop trail is marked with orange blazed trail markers that guides you along a path that weaves under a canopy of tall pines, beech and maple trees. The trail steadily climbs a hill for a bit before coming to a set of approximately 40 steps downhill. Soon the trail turns right crossing over a bridge over the Bungay River. This trail soon bends to the right and crosses over a dirt access road. Continuing straight the trail comes to a second set of stairs, this time approximately 30 uphill. The trail then continues slightly downhill to another bridge that crosses the river to the main entrance of the nature trail. At both bridges there are noteworthy features. The northern bridge crosses over a small area of rapids and the southern bridge crosses at a small dam and overflow. Along the trail there are a couple spots to view the Bungay River where it widens to a small pond. There are a few spur trails but for this hike follow the main loop trail that is marked. Wildlife is abundant here as frogs, salamanders, and turtles, as well as various birds such as blackbirds, woodpeckers, great blue heron, and mallards have been observed here. There are a handful of informative kiosks along trail. The facility is open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM except for holidays. The gate to the nature trail is locked at 3:45 PM.

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Bungay River

Pic-Wil Nature Preserve- Barrington

  • Pic-Wil (Picerelli-Wilson) Nature Preserve
  • Barrington, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: June 25, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy.

 

Mr. Ray Marr of the Barrington Land Conservation Trust and an avid lover of purple martins gave a public tour today of this property in Barrington. The Pic-Wil Nature Preserve, named after the former land owners Picerelli and Wilson, became a Barrington Land Conservation Trust property in 1987. The property was once the home to a bottling factory known as Deep Rock Water Company. Today, the property has three large meadows,  a small forest and a salt marsh on the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay. This property is a haven for birds. In fact it is known for its purple martins as they nest and resort here in the late spring and into the summer. The purple martin is a type of swallow, and here at Pic-Wil they reside in one of several gourd rack nests. At the time of this hike there were 53 nesting purple martins and over 100 in total. There are several bird boxes here as well as there is an attempt to attract the Eastern Bluebird. House wrens, hawks, and ospreys were also spotted here. The property has been home to deer, coyote, fox, weasels, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits as well. The small network of trails here lead you through the fields, the forest, and into the salt marsh. There is an active bee hive here on the property as part of a local pollination project. From the property you can see the Conimicut Lighthouse and across the bay to Warwick, North Kingstown, and Prudence Island. The property is not open to the public except when guided tours are offered. The tours are usually posted on their website or Facebook page. For more information contact the Barrington Land Conservation Trust.

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Summer Meadow (Note the gourd rack nest)

Eagle Scout Nature Trail – Plainville

  • Eagle Scout Nature Trail
  • Everett Skinner Road, Plainville, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 1’30.60″N,71°19’43.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 10, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

This short trail winds through a canopy of birch, maple, and pine trees. Starting from a parking area along Everett Skinner Road the loop trail begins to the left of the sign. The trail then follows the shore of Old Mill Brook a bit before turning inland and uphill. The trails are mostly covered in pine needles along most of the loop. Be sure to look for and follow the white arrows to complete the loop. There are other trails that spur off of the loop. There is also a “bridge to nowhere” here. It is an observation deck that hovers over a small pond to view wildlife and plants. The loop is short, but several miles can be added to this walk on adjacent properties.

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Bridge Crossing Old Mill Brook

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