Poquetanuck Cove Preserve
234 acres in Ledyard, CT
Parking: Small lot near 191 Avery Hill Rd, Ledyard, CT
Trail Map Trails: 1.5 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I stopped at Poquetanuck Cove Preserve after picking apples at Holmberg Orchards, the two properties are adjacent but don’t connect. The small parking lot is tucked into the woods and is easy to pass (like most Nature Conservancy parking).
The trail winds between private property that couldn’t quite be seen during my stop at the start of Fall, but since someone was throwing a party, you could definitely hear them. The trail is narrow and winds over mixed terrain. At the fork, I headed right knowing that would get me to the cove quicker. The trail heads downhill towards the water right along Avery Hill Brook.
I was greeted with a calm view of the brook entering the cove and I spied a heron standing on a log out in the water. A prime fishing spot, for herons and egrets at least. The trail here is cut into the bank between the water and a small hill and after a bit gives access to a rocky beach at the waters edge though likely only at low tide.
The cove is a large sheltered bay of the Thames River between Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. The view from the preserve’s trail feels like a teaser. The far side of the hill is where archaeologists dug in a Native American midden/refuse heap. I looked for evidence of the oyster shells it should contain, but didn’t see any.
As the trail loops back around the hill you come within sight of the water several times, but only through the trees. The rest of the hike winds through the woods back to the fork and while I enjoyed the hike I feel like greater access to the water would round out this great short hike.
There is not boating access from the Poquetanuck Cover Preserve, but there is a boat launch near 11 Royal Oaks Dr Ledyard, CT and another car top launch with a 100ft carry in near 2-18 Drawbridge W Gales Ferry, CT that can be used to explore the cove.
From the Nature Conservancy site,
In 1953, Desire Parker purchased this piece of land—with its narrow cliff along the watercourse—in the hopes that native people had camped and gathered oysters at the spot. Subsequent archaeological research confirmed her hunch. In 1988, she followed through on her lifelong plan to permanently protect her land along Poquetanuck Cove by donating it to The Nature Conservancy.
Poquetanuck Cove was a known oyster fishing area dating back at least 10,000 years. At least 34 prehistoric archaeological sites have been noted around the cove with at least one within the preserve, though I haven’t yet been able to find any results.
The cove was designated a bird sanctuary by the state legislature in 1969.
- Peter Marteka – Poquetanuck Cove: Spooky And Beautiful (2011)
- Auntie Beak – Poquetanuck Cove Preserve
- The Day – Poquetanuck Cove Canoe/Kayak Trail
- Country Walks in Connecticut: A Guide to The Nature Conservancy Preserves, by Susan D. Cooley, Appalachian Mountain Club Books and the Nature Conservancy, 1989, pp. 110–116.