Posts Tagged ‘ Stone Walls ’

Cross Town Trail – Groton

  • Groton Cross Town Trail
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.29″N, 72° 1’58.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 2, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with some hills and rugged areas. Navigation can be difficult in areas.

 

The town of Groton offers a trail that connects several properties while it traverses quite literally cross town. The trail, six miles in total one way, starts at Bluff Point State Park, winds through Haley Farm State Park, meanders through the Mortimer Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest before coming to a half mile of road walking, climbs through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands, and finally to Town’s End Preserve. Starting at the parking area for Bluff Point, the trail starts to the left by the composting toilets. Follow the main path ahead through areas of ledge, pass a gate and you will soon be parallel to the Amtrak tracks. To the right are some spectacular views of the upper reaches of Mumford Cove. The trail then veers slightly to the right and uphill. At the top of the hill turn left at the wooden steps and left again to cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge you have entered Haley Farm State Park. Just ahead is a gate to the right. Take the turn here, pass the gate and follow this trail. Following this trail will lead you to the main parking area for Haley Farm. Along the way you pass several small boulders and old farm stone walls before the trail turns into a stone dust path. A massive, and quite impressive stone wall will be to your left before coming to the open field just before the parking area. The trail continues to the left (north side of the parking area), however, though not technically part of the Cross Town Trail, it is well worth checking out while here. At the composting toilet is an opening at the wall. Follow the trail here and straight at the next intersection. The trail then turns to the left and back southerly. This small additional stretch is grass mowed through a field with an abundance of birds and thickets of berries and sumac. At the next intersection, continue pass the grass mowed trail to the left, pass the wood post with remains of a gate, and turn right following the trail slightly uphill flanked by a stone wall on the right. At the end of the stone wall there is a narrow trail on the right. Take this trail and follow it first through a cedar grove before passing a few stone walls. There is a trail split ahead just as a catch a glimpse of a pond. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the trail over a few boardwalks and pass Gibson Pond before exiting the State Park at Groton Long Point Road. It does not seem that blazes for the Cross Town Trail were allowed on State Property. At the time of this hike orange dots were observed at several points along the way. They were helpful, however it is very advisable to use GPS (particularly through State lands) in the event you may need to backtrack. Good news! The remainder of the trail is blazed blue through all of the remaining properties and there are trail maps at all the major intersections. Just be sure to keep an eye from blaze to blaze to assure you are on the right trail. Continuing ahead across Groton Long Point Road and slightly to the right you will come to the first blue blaze at Mortimer Wright Preserve. The trail winds up and down hill for the next couple miles passing beech groves, several stone walls, “frog crossings”, an esker and moraine, and streams as it passes the Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest. This stretch is absolutely beautiful and is well populated by deer, songbirds, and squirrels. The next half mile is road walking, crossing Fishtown Road, turning onto and following to the end of Rhonda Drive, right onto Farmstead Avenue, then right onto Judson Avenue. After Somersett Drive (on the left) start looking for the trailhead at Beebe Pond Park on the right. Follow the blue blazed trail once again through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands. This stretch can be a little rugged with rocky and root bound trails, so it is advisable to watch your step while walking and stop to take in the scenery. On the way out of the Beebe Pond Park is a massive stone wall to the right. It looks as it might have been part of a mill or dam. The trail then comes out to 850 Noank Road. This is a good spot for a second vehicle if you are going to car spot this hike. The Cross Town Trail then continues by turning left and following Noank Road for a couple hundred feet and the turning right at the gated Town Ends Preserve. The trail then ends about a tenth of mile into the preserve at Beebe Cove.

 

Map can be found at: Cross Town Trail.

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Mumford Cove at Bluff Point.

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Autumn at Merritt Family Forest

Homestead Loop Trail – Fall River

  • Homestead Loop Trail – Watuppa Reservation
  • Blossom Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’56.24″N, 71° 5’19.86″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 20, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Starting from a parking area surrounded by a split rail fence follow grass covered cart path away from the road. On the right before the power lines is the trail. The trail is first flanked on the left by a stone wall. A few hundred feet ahead the trail passes through the wall and then to a split. Staying to the left you will see the first trail marker (marked by a rabbit). The trail markers for this hike are at every tenth of a mile. There are no other blazes on this loop. The trail passes under the power lines before winding back into the woods. After passing some holly and small boulders you will come upon a trail on the right (marked by a bee). Ignore this trail for this hike and continue straight. You will soon enough come to another “rabbit” marker to confirm you are on the right trail. At the end of the trail, turn right onto the wide grass road and look for a trail on the left. Turn onto this trail and continue with the loop. At 0.3 mile marker there is a rather impressive holly tree. The trail winds a little further south and back west coming to a trail intersection just before the power lines. The trail to the right is the “bee” marked trail. Stay to the left here making your way to the power lines. The trail can be a little overgrown here. Continue ahead here passing under the lines and the trail becomes much clearer at the tree line. The next feature of the trail is a boardwalk (still under construction) before coming to the wide grass road once again. From here continue straight as the trail winds back to the first marker. From the first marker retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Homestead Loop Trail.

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Marker Along The Homestead Loop

Little Creek Preserve – Portsmouth

 

The newest of the Aquidneck Land Trust properties, Little Creek offers a half mile loop trail as well as several short spurs. The property also will feature a boardwalk over a marsh for birding and wildlife viewing. This boardwalk is slated to open in the fall of 2020. The trails wind through thickets, wildflower fields, and brush making the property a haven for birds. the eastern edge of the preserve has two connector trails to the Sakonnet Greenway if you wanted to add some extra mileage. Be sure to bring your camera if you are a birder or wildflower enthusiast.

Map can be found at: Little Creek Preserve.

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Little Creek Preserve

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

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

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