Posts Tagged ‘ Stone Walls ’

Mercy Woods – Cumberland

 

The Town of Cumberland recently purchased 229 of the 243 acres of the Sisters of Mercy property for conservation and passive recreation. With the help of the Cumberland Land Trust, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, and volunteers, Mercy Woods has become not only one of the newest trail systems, but handily one of the most beautiful in Rhode Island. The nearly six miles of trails are well blazed and mapped. For this hike, I led a group, following the Perimeter Walk, from the Sumner Brown Road parking area just off of Route 121. We crossed the road to follow the yellow blazed Mercy Loop. After crossing a field and passing a gate we were onto the trail. The trail winds pass the red blaze trail and turns to the east where it intersects with the blue blazed Ridge Trail. Look towards the right here just before the blue trail. Up on the hill is a pile of rocks, possibly a cairn or an impressive “balance artwork”. Following the blue blazes of the aptly named Ridge Trail for the next two miles leads you up and down some impressive hills, crossing a few streams, passing several stone walls, winding by large boulders and outcrops, along a ridge, and through a forest floor of ferns. The trail intersects with four red blazed trails (Stone Wall, Fisher, Fern, and Fiske) and crosses Sumner Brown Road. For this hike, we followed the blue blazes to their terminus at the Mercy Loop. The Warner Trail also joins the Ridge Trail for a bit. You will see a few white circle blazes along the way marking the long distance trail. When we reached the yellow blazes once again we turned left. Keep an eye out for the blazes as there are two trails to the left (one being not blazed). The remainder of the hike winds through the woods at the southern end of the property, passing through an open field, by power lines, then crosses Highland View Road before the final stretch that leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Mercy Woods.

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Along The Mercy Loop

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Wernick Farm – Dartmouth

  • Wernick Farm Reserve
  • North Albro Avenue, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°41’23.98″N, 71° 2’51.42″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 21, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly Easy.

 

Set off of North Hixville Road down a long dirt road in northern Dartmouth is a beautiful property for a stroll. This property offers pine needle covered trails, stone walls, cellar holes, and a pond. Starting from the parking area at the kiosk we followed the orange blazed trail through the northern part of the reserve bordering the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve. We could hear the rustling of maybe a deer in the woods and an occasional hoot of a nearby owl. From here we followed the yellow blazed trail along the western edge of the property passing a large boulder of puddingstone before coming to an open area with a rather impressive cellar hole. From here we followed the green blazed loop trail around a small pond occupied by an abundance of frogs. From the pond we followed the green trail back to the cellar hole and then followed the red blazed trail back out to the parking area. Along the way on the right and slightly in the woods are the remains of a barns foundations.

 

Map can be found at: Wernick Farm.

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Along the Orange Blazed Trail

Jim Russell Preserve – Smithfield

  • Jim Russell Preserve
  • Burlingame Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’40.87″N, 71°33’53.27″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 16, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

On the back side of Connors Farm and from a lesser known access on Burlingame Road is the Jim Russell Preserve. The yellow blazed access path and loop winds through the highest points of the property offering stone walls and seasonal brooks. From the one car (maybe two at most) parking lot, follow the yellow blazed trail downhill to the first trail intersection. Stay to the left here and follow the trail downhill a little further. The trail suddenly turns to the right at a stream crossing. Be sure to keep on eye out for the blazes here. You will pass boulders and stone walls along the next stretch that follows a rather impressive ridge. Ahead the blue blazed Cave Trail of Connors Farm appears on the left. Continue ahead following the yellow blazes to the next intersection. Turning right here you will find a rather large boulder followed by an interesting outcrop both on the right before winding through the ups and downs of the northern part of the property. At the next intersection turn left and retrace your steps uphill back to the parking area.

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Along the Yellow Blazed Trail

Connors Trail Map

Jim Russell Map

Tikkanen-Martin – Foster

 

This white blazed loop trail, just under a mile long, starts at a parking area just in from Kennedy Road at utility pole 49. Following the loop counter clockwise you will first slowly climb uphill along an old cart path flanked by stone walls. Among the pines and various deciduous trees were an abundance of black-capped chickadees. Near the back of the property the trail turns to the north for a bit before turning to the west traversing through a large wooded area before coming to a large grass field. For the remainder of the hike stay to the right following the edge of the field back to the parking area. Walking across the field is frowned upon as the Land Trust is trying to preserve the grasses here. Hunting is allowed here so be sure to wear orange.

 

Map can be found at: Tikkanen/Martin

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Field at Tikkanen/Martin Property

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.

Dunham’s Brook – Westport

  • Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area
  • Main Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°32’37.64″N, 71° 5’14.17″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 8, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Wedged between Main Road and Route 88, Dunham’s Brook offers nearly 3 miles of trails in three very different and distinctive loops. Starting from the parking area, the trail first follows an open area of grass before entering the woods. At the first wooden bridge look to the right to notice a pond. The next bridge crosses Dunham’s Brook itself. Shortly after that is an area of boardwalk that winds through the thick brush. After taking a sharp right and climbing uphill, you will come to a set of stairs of the left. Go left here first climbing the stairs up to the trail (blue loop) This trail will lead you along the ridge of the hill passing the remains of a stone silo on the left before coming out to a large farm field. The trail bends to the right here. The path to the right (blue loop) will turn back to the south pass a stone wall and end at the orange loop. The path to the left (green loop) will lead you through a large seasonal corn field before entering the woods once again. This section is not shown on the map provided, but is shown at the kiosk at the trailhead. A logging operation was also actively occurring at the time of this hike. Continuing straight the trail will soon turn to the right to complete the loop. Turn left and retrace your steps back through the corn field, pass the silo, and to the stairs. For the last part of this hike, turn left at the bottom of the stairs, follow the trail slightly uphill to the next intersection. Turn left onto the blue trail and follow it to the stone wall at the corn field. Turn right here and follow the orange loop trail as it re-enters the woods. The trail winds through a dense area of woods and wetlands along the southern end of the property. The trail eventually makes a loop and returns to the stairs. From here continue ahead and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Dunham’s Brook

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The Stairs at Dunham’s Serves as a Good Reference Point

 

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