56 acres in Willington, CT
Parking: Small lot for 2-3 cars at 65 Blair Road, Willington, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.1 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
This property has 1.1 miles of trails, but the varied terrain makes it feel as if there are more. Chenes Roches means ‘Oaks Rocks’ for the large oak tree early on the trail and the many glacial erratics. Heading downhill from the parking lot the trail passes through a gap in the stone walls. The wide path is a former woods road that opens to a massive white oak, the ‘chenes’ in the preserve’s name. From here the trail continues downhill on the yellow-blazed Ether’s Loop. The trail grazes past large erratics (the ‘roches’ in the name) before rounding back through hardwood forest.
The western edge connects to the 200 ft Ledge Spur Trail, which ends at a small heavily wooded rocky crop. A few hundred feet away is the start of the Valley Spur trail. It turns south within sight of a privately owned pond and crosses a small unnamed stream. The spur ends at the southern property line alongside a fault line ridge not far from the railroad line and the Willimantic River Valley.
Donated by Esther Labbee in 2004. From the Joshua’s Trust site,
“Esther was an elementary school teacher in Manchester for more than 25 years, retiring in 1984. Esther loved this property where she raised cows and other farm animals, gardened and raised fruit trees and berry bushes. She was extremely independent and resourceful, building many of the farm buildings herself. She harvested firewood on the property, driving her tractor on woods roads that some of the Chenes Roches trails now follow. She wanted the property she loved and worked to be forever protected from development in perpetuity and so granted custodianship to Joshua’s Trust.”
Peter Marteka – Willington’s Chenes Roches Preserve And The Legacy Of A School Teacher (2017)
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