Posts Tagged ‘Belknap Preserve’

OTH continues his march toward completing the 12 walks in the Wilton “Take a Walk in the Woods” contest. On Sunday, June 26 he visited the Belknap & Gregg Preserves, located in the northeastern part of Wilton. While the preserves are two different parcels of land, they abut and share a path. So one may park at one of the preserves, walk through it, cross over to the other preserve, walk through that one and then return to the parking area. This “two preserves in one” aspect and the size of them (about 110 acres) offer a more extended walking experience. The last few parks that OTH visited offered essentially one loop trail with a few cross trail options. The Belknap/Gregg combination offers a more of varied set of trails, particularly the trail system in the Gregg Preserve. OTH recommends a hiker come with a trail map in hand (actually a good recommendation for almost any hiking or walking experience in the woods).

On this day, OTH parked at the Belknap Preserve entrance on Wampum Road. He took a path diagonally  across the preserve to reach the point of entry into the Gregg Preserve and then walked along the Mayapple Brook for a short stretch. A loop path around a wetlands portion took OTH back to the point of return to the Belknap Preserve. He finished by taking the loop trail back to the parking area, all-in-all about 2 miles, he reckons.

One of the notable features of these preserves, particularly the Gregg Preserve, is Mayapple Brook. Various paths cross and follow the stream as it meanders through the woods. OTH finds the experience of walking along or crossing over brooks and streams such as Mayapple Brook, particulary pleasing, and hopes you do as well.

Mayapple Brook in the Gregg Preserve

Mayapple Brook in the Gregg Preserve

While returning along the blue loop trail in the Belknap Preserve, OTH encountered one of Wilton’s deer. He cannot quite understand his fascination with this kind of experience. Lord knows he has seen deer all over Wilton and cursed the animals as he stood over the bare stalks of hosta, but nevertheless, OTH gets a thrill when he and the deer stare at each other for a few seconds. That and seeing it bound away, gliding effortlessly over fallen trees, white tail held high as it disappears into the trees are high points of any walk where it happens.

Deer in Belknap Preserve

Deer in Belknap Preserve

A couple of tips or thoughts on these two preserves:

  1. The yellow trail in the Belknap Preserve evidently doesn’t get a lot of traffic. Usually in these parks, the trails are discernible paths. Not so with this one, it’s well marked enough with yellow blazes, but you got to be careful to follow them. OTH was strolling along and realized he’d lost sight of blazes and did not have a path to follow. It was easy to retrace his steps a short distance and get back on the trail, so no great damage was done, but just keep the blazes in sight as you walk.
  2. In the Gregg Preserve, OTH noticed that the trail intersections were well marked but, at least on some of the trails he walked, the trail itself was not blazed.  Maybe he missed them, but he did not see any. Not a big problem because, unlike the yellow trail in the Belknap Preserve, the trails were fairly easy to follow. A few blazes though would be handy to confirm you are where you think you are. Again, same message, keep your mind in gear as you walk and know where you are as you go.

So, OTH recommends these two reserves for something more than a short midday nature walk. The extensive trail system in the Gregg Preserve with the addition of the Belknap Preserve provides an opportunity for a hike of several miles. Like most of the open spaces in Wilton, there is a combination of woodlands and wetlands. The ever-present rock walls are there as well.

For more in formation visit Belknap Preserve and Gregg Preserve.

9 down and 3 more to go!


Read Full Post »