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Shoddy Mill Preserve

Shoddy Mill Preserve

Glastonbury Town Park

77 acres in Glastonbury, CT

Parking: Shoulder parking near 111 Shoddy Mill Road Glastonbury, CT

Trail Map


*Photos forthcoming*

I started hiking Shoddy Mill on the West Trail following the trail next to Roaring Brook.  The trail crosses over a gas pipeline which was thriving with life but clear near the end of summer.  It awkwardly forks as it heads uphill and I took the left path into the pines.  This area is one of those special grove types that really makes you appreciate your surroundings.

An unexpected path not on the map broke off to the left and I decided to follow it for exploration’s sake.  The path crosses coon hollow on a homemade network of boards and recycled wood to cross a wet area.  This unmarked trail then passed rusting (but functional) farm equipment, some kind of tiny man-made pond with a pump, and dead ended at a pile of tennis balls in the woods near Sachem Drive.  I assume this trail provides access to the Minnechaug Swim and Tennis Club and perhaps houses in the area.

Back on the West Trail I followed the loop as it climbed up a ridge again with trails branching off, likely to more private property.  The ridge provides a nice seasonal view southeast, but only of the next ridge.  The trail follows the ridge until it reconnects at the original fork.  There is treacherous access to the dam ruins below, but there are best viewed from the east trail.

The east trail is a bit further south along Shoddy Mill Rd.  Some tree cutting had happened recently during my last visit but I was able to find the entrance easily enough.  The path is less used, but easy to follow with a couple options to reach the ruins.  What remains of the dam is a massive work of stone that stretches for a couple hundred feet and is largely in great condition. Though it is long enough that it is difficult to get a view of the whole thing.

History:

From the town’s site, Shoddy Mill, “was acquired by the town in the late 1960’s as part of an overall plan to create a greenbelt along Roaring Brook. Interesting features include the beautifully constructed Shoddy Mill dam, and a high gravel ridge paralleling the brook to the west. The mill produced “shoddy” (reclaimed wool, usually made from rags, which can be processed into felt or fabric of inferior quality.”

And from Peter Marteka’s article,

According to Marjorie Grant McNulty’s book “Glastonbury From Settlement to Suburb,” the Shoddy Mill once manufactured shoddy or reprocessed wool. Even back in the 1800s, recycling was a part of manufacturing and a cheap way to make a product. Shoddy was an inferior woolen yarn made from fibers taken from used fabrics and reprocessed.

“Over a period of 65 years,” the book reads, “men from the Crosby Manufacturing Company would go to the mill to grind woolen waste of different colors into a dark blue product from which a woolen yarn was spun.” Operations at the mill ceased in 1906 and it was turned into a tenement house complete with a swimming pool


Links:

Peter Marteka – A Trip Into Glastonbury’s Past At Shoddy Mill (2012)

Steve at CTMQ – Not Too Shoddy, Shoddy Mill Preserve

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Sept. 1, 2019
Great Pond Preserve

Great Pond Preserve

Glastonbury Town Park

70 acres in Glastonbury

Parking: Grassy shoulder parking across from 401 Great Pond Rd South Glastonbury, CT

Trail Map


Great Pond Preserve was an unexpectedly nice hike in Glastonbury.  An island and oasis among development as its founders would call it.

Hiking

After hopping the curb to park on the grass I passed the commemorative plaque for H. William Reed who led the effort to create the park.  The trail descends gradually on a wide path until it reaches a large Nature Conservancy sign stating the parks rules and another kiosk with a trail map.

From here the trail narrows and was overgrown but passable in this section in September 2019.  The Bob Kaye loop soon splits off to the left and was a nice but uneventful loop.  Marteka says of the loop,

The trail passes farm fields off Old Maids Lane and along the top of a natural dam that once held the waters of Lake Hitchcock. The dam lasted about 3,000 years before washing out and creating the Connecticut River and assorted lakes and ponds across New England.

The Pond Trail continues to the Old Cedar.  This tree is by far the largest cedar I’ve ever seen and is a champion tree of Connecticut for its species at 58 ft tall.  The area around it is covered in poison ivy, but it can be admired from afar.  The Pond Trail dead ends at a nicely built pond observation platform built by Eagle Scout Jeffrey Snyder.

The best hiking is found on Dana’s Rim Walk named for Dana Waring who blazed the route while a member of the Glastonbury Conservation Commission.  The trail climbs steeply up the high bank of the Connecticut River to forested views of the water below.  The trail is cut into the side of the hill and fades away as it nears development off Bluff Point Rd.  While certainly more difficult than most other trails it has stuck with me more than any of the others hike in Glastonbury.  All it needs is one clear view of the water.

History:

Established as a park in 1992 with the help of H. William Reed.

This area along the Connecticut River and across to Dividend Pond in Rocky Hill was the site of a natural dam of sediment, sand, and gravel that held back Lake Hitchcock as the ice retreated during the last Ice Age.  Lake Hitchcock is named for Edward Hitchcock, a geologist from the 1800s, and it lasted for about 3,000 years before the dam eroded and broke in a massive flood that eventually created the lower stretches of the Connecticut River.


Links:

Peter Marteka – Great Pond, South Glastonbury (2008)

The Hartford Courant – Unique Site Survives Suburbia (2001)

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Sept. 1, 2019
Bull Hill

Bull Hill Preserve

Wyndham Land Trust Property

994 acres in Woodstock and Thompson, CT

Parking: Small lot uphill from 120 Bull Hill Rd Woodstock, CT

Trail Map


The drive up to Bull Hill’s parking lot is a bit rough on a rutted dirt road, but there is an easy parking lot just inside an old rusted gate.  From here the trail starts on an undeveloped stretch of Bull Hill Rd.  If you follow it you will eventually reach the other side in Grosvenordale.

Signs carved by Ellis Tech Manufactoring guide the way to the Bull Hill overlook.  From the parking lot it’s about .85 miles of wide rolling path that gradually climbs to the overlook.  The viewpoint is known as “Three Trees” because the hilltop has been cleared except for a large maple right next to the summit and… two others to the left.  A long bench is set on the summit with a half ring of rocks.  The view is nearly 360 degrees with the main view of South Woodstock and Roseland Lake.

The Wyndham Land Trust cautions:

Currently, the Bull Hill Preserve is a work in progress. Although WLT owns approximately 975 acres on Bull Hill, all the properties are not contiguous, but are interspersed with property owned by others. Please respect our neighbors by parking in the designated area and staying on the marked hiking trail.

History:

The initial 254 acres was purchased in February 2017.  The additional 740 acres have been added since then in non-contiguous parcels.


Links:

Peter Marteka – A view with three trees and so much more on top of Bull Hill in Thompson (2019)

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Oct. 28, 2019
Salem Riverside Preserve

Salem Riverside Preserve

Salem Land Trust Property

4.6 acres in Salem. CT

Parking: Small lot near 345 Darling Rd, Salem, CT

Trail Map


The Salem Riverside Preserve is the newest property of the Salem Land Trust.  I visited in the early fall of 2019 and found a short well maintained .25 mile loop.

From the parking area you pass close to private property and through dense understory as you head downhill towards the waterway.  The Salem Land Trust site notes,

In the spring a healthy vernal pool containing clusters of Wood Frog and Spotted Salamander eggs can be found. The forest is partly oak/beech/maple upland, and partly pine/hardwood upland. The river banks are lined with laurel and much of the understory of the forested areas is blueberry and huckleberry.

You soon reach a small clearing among some beech trees with a view of the east branch of the Eightmile River.  The area is rock lined and peaceful.  The loop then continues back to the parking area.

History:

Preserved by the Salem Land Trust by donation in 2018.


Links:

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Sept. 30, 2019
Bingham Preserve

Alf & Sylvia Bingham Preserve

Salem Land Trust Property

4 acres in Salem, CT

Parking: Tiny lot for 2 cars at 194 Darling Road Salem, CT

Trail Map


The tiny Bingham Preserve still boasts a half-mile trail that the Salem Land Trust describes as easy footpath with a gradual hill.  From the trailhead you pass between active farmland fields towards the woods.  Red blazes point the way and cute markers adorned with bluejays warn of crossing the stone wall onto private property.

Entering the woods the trail follows a wide flat path behind the field.  Here too the markers with bluejays warn of private property.  The trail soon splits and I took the right path that heads slightly uphill before descending quickly to a view of the beaver pond.  There are at least two lodges within sight, I saw no recent signs of activity along the bank though Peter Marteka notes activity in January of 2018.

The trail then climbs back up another hill as it loops back towards the fields with No Trespassing blue jay markers on either side of the trail.  It’s difficult to enjoy a walk in the woods when you’re constantly and passive aggressively reminded to never step off the trail.

History:

The property was donated in 2008 to the Salem Land Trust in memory of Alfred and Sylvia Bingham. From the Salem Land Trust site, “Alf Bingham was a State Senator and Probate Judge from Salem and Sylvia Bingham taught at the Salem School. Both life-long naturalists, they donated land to the State of CT that is now the part of Nehantic State Forest.”


Links:

Peter Marteka – A Trip To A Big Gorge And Pastoral Farm In Salem (2018)

The information shown here is for general reference purposes only. exploreCT.org gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability of this data. Parking in all areas, whether designated here or not, is at your own risk. exploreCT.org is not responsible for any damage or loss to vehicles or contents.
Last updated Sept. 30, 2019