Sawmill Brook Preserve
80 acres in Mansfield, CT
Parking: Small pull-off near 139 Puddin Ln Mansfield Center, CT
Trail Map Trails: 3 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Sawmill Brook Preserve is the unassuming western start/terminus of the 37 mile Nipmuck Trail as it winds towards the Massachusetts border.
It is an oddly shaped property that connects directly to the Joshua’s Trust Wolf Rock through the Nipmuck Trail. From the shoulder parking next to the large boulder the trail quickly forks after crossing a wood bridge over an unnamed stream. The Nipmuck is to the left and the unblazed town trail is to the right. The Nipmuck is more interesting and has less mud and water to avoid and was rerouted due to development sometime around 2003. Either way, the two rejoin next to Sawmill Brook after about .75 miles and can be used for a nice short loop. At one mile the trail passes through the utility corridor and soon reaches a platform for birdwatching.
The platform was built in 2011 by Eagle Scout Eric Wilson. I’ve stopped here a few times and seen redwing blackbirds nearly every time. The trail then hops a few feeder streams some with well-placed rocks for crossing and others with a wobbly rotting log. Round a corner, cross over ‘Dad’s Bridge’, and you’ve entered the lower reaches of Wolf Rock. Going up to the overlook and back is about 4 miles.
Continuing on the Nipmuck Trail reaches many other Mansfield town parks including Schoolhouse Brook and Fifty Foot Cliff.
The property isn’t listed directly in the town’s open space acquisitions but includes parcels from Fesik, Vernon, Malek, Stearns, and Guarnaccia some of which are from 2000-2003 era. This is also when the Nipmuck was rerouted to its current state.
Peter Marteka – Autumn Trails (2003)
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Last updated May 1, 2019
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