Nipmuck Trail: Chaffeeville Silk Mill
North end – By Gurleyville Gristmill or along Stonemill Rd, Storrs, CT
South end – Small pull-off near 501 Chaffeeville Rd Storrs, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.4 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
This section is one of the lesser used stretches of the Nipmuck Trail, but at 1.4 miles provides a great short hike along the Fenton River past what remains of the Chaffeeville Silk Mill and bridge to the Gurleyville Gristmill. Peter Marteka calls this the “mill bookend hike”.
After crossing Bousa Rd the trail cuts into the woods off the utility corridor. This section is nearly overgrown, but passable. The trail takes a hard turn at a former bridge abutment and up and over the culverts that allow the Fenton to pass under Bousa Rd.
On the other side the trail climbs atop the dam and sluiceway of the Chaffeeville Silk Mill. The area is pretty overgrown in general so it is difficult to get a view encompassing the entire 200′ stone and earth dam.
The trail then winds along the Fenton River and many associated smaller overflows. Several small benches have been built along the river to sit and take in the peaceful setting.
The trail comes out of the woods at Stonemill Rd and begins a short road walk that passes the Gurleyville Gristmill once operated by the family of Wilbur Cross, one of Connecticut’s former governors. The trail then cross the road bridge and Torrey Preserve Section
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Mansfield has a rich silk history. In 1826 three out of four households in Mansfield were raising silkworms and producing as much as 50lbs of silk per year. The Chaffeeville Silk Mill was known as the Conant & Company Silk Mill and operated from 1842-1860.
Peter Marteka – Mill History Lives Along Nipmuck Trail, Fenton River (2012)
Mansfield Historical Society – Chaffeeville Silk Mill Burns