Hiking guide: Frolic at Groton's Sheep Farm

An insect prepares to land on a flower in a meadow at the Sheep Farm property in Groton, which was saved recently by the Groton Open Space Association.
An insect prepares to land on a flower in a meadow at the Sheep Farm property in Groton, which was saved recently by the Groton Open Space Association. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

The Sheep Farm, so called because sheep grazed the now-overgrown meadows onsite as recently as 10 years ago, is one of the more recent acquisitions for the Groton Open Space Association (GOSA).

Nestled just off I-95, this 63-acre tract of land in Groton provides varied, beautiful terrain for a walk in the woods or a bike ride.

Purchased in December, the property still has work to be done, including the clearing of more paths, but it's well on its way, said GOSA member Sue Sutherland last month.

Two trails, including one that follows a colonial road, head into the woods through new and old growth trees.

The blue trail follows more open, meadow-like areas, while the red follows Fort Hill Brook, which originates underground and empties into Mumford Cove and eventually Long Island Sound.

The brook, which bisects the farm, includes a 10-foot waterfall and provides what Sutherland said is a suitable habitat for amphibian life.

The Day's online hiking guide provides details, photos and printable hiking maps for more than 50 local trails. Find it at www.theday.com/hiking.

Join the Connecticut Hiking Guide Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cthiking to get updated each time we add a new trail.

Sue Sutherland, left, of the Groton Open Space Association leads a group on a hike of the Sheep Farm property in Groton on June 4, 2011. The group hiked the new trails at the Sheep Farm property as part of Connecticut Trail Day.
Sue Sutherland, left, of the Groton Open Space Association leads a group on a hike of the Sheep Farm property in Groton on June 4, 2011. The group hiked the new trails at the Sheep Farm property as part of Connecticut Trail Day. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
A Fort Hill Brook waterfall located on the Sheep Farm property in Groton.
A Fort Hill Brook waterfall located on the Sheep Farm property in Groton. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

Sheep Farm at a glance

Town: Groton

Directions: Take I-95 N to Exit 88. Turn right on Rt. 117 S. Take a left on Hazelnut Hill Road. Park is on the right.

Where to Park: A designated parking lot is on right side of the road marked by "Sheep Farm" sign.

Description: The Sheep Farm, a 63-acre tract, features approximately two miles of trails through diverse terrain. The farm includes remnants of agricultural and industrial operations, including an early 18th-century gristmill along Fort Hill Brook and the Samuel Edgecomb House. Edgecomb's son became famous for his efforts to fight off British troops during the Revolutionary War by throwing 18-pound shots over the walls of Fort Griswold.

Regulations: Dogs on leash allowed. Biking allowed on the blue trail.

Amenities: None.

Natural Features: Mountain laurel forest, meadows, wetlands and vernal ponds. Fort Hill Brook bisects the property. Multiple waterfalls, including a 10-footer.

Fees: Free.

Things to Note: Open year-round. Watch for poison ivy.

Owned by: Groton Open Space Association

More information:

www.gosaonline.org

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