Exploring Joshua’s Trust Allanach-Wolf and Tinkerville Brook Properties
If you are a regular reader of this column you know I’ve been visiting land trust properties in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor this spring. I’ve shared some of my finds already. Today I want to tell you about two properties owned by the Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Land Trust – Allanach-Wolf in Windham and Tinkerville Brook in Ashford.
Joshua’s Trust has been conserving land for more than 50 years and has grown to more than 4,500 acres — the largest land trust in northeast Connecticut. Some of these properties are owned by the trust and others are protected by easements, but both methods assure those lands will remain open space, protected from development forever.
The trust’s service area is very large and extends throughout 14 communities in Windham and Tolland Counties. Many of their properties have well-maintained walking trails for public use and enjoyment. The trust also maintains two historically significant sites in Mansfield, the Gurleyville Grist Mill and Atwood Farm, which also serves as the trust’s headquarters. The organization is supported by many dedicated volunteers who are crucial to their important work in land conservation and property stewardship.
To learn more about Joshua’s Trust I encourage you to check out their well-designed and easy to navigate website at joshuastrust.org. Click on the “Explore” tab for the locations and descriptions of the properties open to the public. The properties are listed by town and the page for each property includes a helpful link to a trail map.
The Last Green Valley (TLGV) has been doing a series of short virtual programs featuring the many miles of trails in the corridor, including those maintained by our region’s land trusts. To date we have filmed at locations owned by Avalonia Land Conservancy, Opacum Land Trust, Wolf Den Land Trust, Wyndham Land Trust and Joshua’s Trust. Our videos highlight some of the lesser known trails on these land trust properties to help all of you find great places to explore the region without running into crowds. The videos also help spread the word about the important work these organizations are doing in land conservation.
We recently filmed at the Joshua’s Tract Allanach-Wolf and Tinkerville Brook locations and spoke with Kailyn Murphy, Development Administrator for the trust. Kailyn shared with us information on the trust as well as the history of Allanach-Wolf. The first of these videos is on our YouTube channel. Just search for The Last Green Valley on YouTube and you will find it.
Allanach-Wolf is more than 102 acres of mostly forested land with a 22-acre pond known as Lake Marie. The property was donated by Ada Wolf in 2007 and is located on Back Road in Windham. The preserve is within an area of highest natural resources priority for the Town of Windham’s Plan of Conservation.
The first time I visited Allanach-Wolf, I quickly fell in love with this property. It has it all, from interpretive signage about plants and trees to comfortable benches for resting and soaking up nature, a forest stream that feeds into Lake Marie, an observation blind facing the water and well-maintained forest trails. The trail at the entrance is a former driveway with a paved surface perfect for families with strollers and young children, and folks with more limited mobility.
For more information on the property visit:
For a trail map go to:
Joshua’s Trust Executive Director Mike Hveem suggested I visit their Tinkerville Brook property in Ashford. My wife Julie (and exploring partner) joined me on a sunny early spring afternoon to check it out. We are both very grateful for Mike’s recommendations.
Here is a description of the property from the Joshua’s Trust website:
“This property was donated to Joshua’s Trust by C & M Associates. It is a portion of a 270-acre subdivision and satisfies the open space requirements of the town of Ashford. This preserve lies mostly in a narrow strip extending nearly 0.7 miles from Armitage Road to Bissonette Pond. Major features include Tinkerville Brook itself; approximately 7 acres of herbaceous/shrub wetland; a portion of a stand of unusually large black birch (Betula lenta); a former gravel pit 100 yards west of Armitage Road, sometimes with an active beaver (Castor canadensis) colony adjoining the brook; an old mill site plus a massive stone bridge abutment; a ravine shaded by mature hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis), and a variety of plant and animal resources which have been relatively undisturbed for years.”
The stone bridge abutment at the edge of the brook and waterfall is the property’s most unique feature. Julie and I could hear the falls from a distance and upon approach were amazed by the size and height of the handmade stone structure. In silence we sat on the edge and soaked up the tranquility of the beautiful forest and tumbling waters.
We followed the trail along the brook to where the property ends at Bissonette Pond. At the edge of the pond we stopped to enjoy the aerial dexterity of an osprey hovering over the water in search of dinner. We had hoped to see the bird display its fishing acumen with steep dive and water plunge, but unfortunately it was not a good fishing day for the hungry bird.
We took the loop trail back up towards the brook and then to the trail head and small parking area. From start to finish it is about 1.5 miles of relatively easy hiking and perfect for either a quick hike in nature, or a more extended visit, such as a walking meditation in the forest bathing style I’ve written about in the past. We vowed to return and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the banks of Tinkerville Brook.
Here is the link to the trail map:
Our regional land trusts are actively conserving important natural lands throughout The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. I hope you’ll take the time to visit their properties, learn more about their work and consider becoming a member or volunteer.
Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and has lived in the region for more than 35 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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