Caring for our World here at Home

The Town of Essex covers an area of 10 square miles with a population of approximately 6,500. Its location along the west bank of the Connecticut River gives it a privileged perspective in an area recognized by The Nature Conservancy as one of the “Last Great Places” in the Western Hemisphere. The natural beauty and vitality of the community is further enhanced by the Falls River watershed which courses through the town’s three villages before flowing into the Connecticut River.

The Town boasts 23 different open space preserves representing nearly 1,100 acres or 16% of the Town’s land area. The land trust itself own 650 acres while the balance is held by the Town and The Nature Conservancy.  There are 32 miles of hiking trails over the 73 trails found in total Town of Essex open space preserves. Click HERE for a map of all Town preserves.

Essex Land Trust and other Town properties are open sunrise to sunset, and we encourage everyone to enjoy these open spaces. Many have trails and we only ask that a few simple rules be followed. Please do not hunt, camp, bike, make fires, smoke, use motorized vehicles, remove, or destroy plants. Dogs are welcome. However, dogs must be always on leash or under owner’s control. Be respectful of other walkers and please clean up after your pet.

Bushy Hill/Platt

137 acres – 4 trails

Stewards: Terry Stewart (860 304-1928), Richard Helmecki (860-767-2219)

Access: off Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton.

Canfield - Meadow Woods

300 acres – 15 trails

Stewards: Roger Field (860-767-8559), George Wendell (860-767-1593), Tom Soboleski (860-304-1503) – Chuck Grusse (860-767-7577)

Access: Book Hill Woods Road, Dennison Road and Eagle Ridge Drive, Essex. Off of Route 154, Deep River.

Cross Lots

15 acres – Multiple trails

Stewards: Al Macgregor (860-767-0693), Leif Owens (651-503-5485). Pollinator Garden, Pam Peters (973-809-6832)

Access: 40 West Avenue, Essex, diagonally across from the Essex Public Library.

Falls River Preserve, Falls River Park, Stanley Park, & Jean's Island

56 Acres – 5 trails

Stewards: John Matthiessen (860-767-1222), Wilk Miller (646-618-1906)

Access: at the end of Falls River Drive, off Main Street, Ivoryton. Canoe/Kayak access to Mill Pond at Falls River Park.

Fern Ledge, Farm Hill Estates

17 acres – 2 trails

Stewards: Jeff Hutchinson (860-395-7456), Adrienne Brochu (860-767-2280), Steve Bancroft (203-668-8909).

Access: next to Middlesex Hospital Occupational & Environmental Services  facility, off Route 153, Essex. New access from end of Carol Lane.

North Cove & Great Meadow

91 acres – No trails

Steward: Todd Samuelson (860-304-7790)

No public access by land. Canoe/Kayak access from Bushnell Street landing, Essex.

Heron Pond

29 acres – 5 trails

Steward: Mike Cunningham (617-947-2745)

Access: Heron Pond Road, off Route 154, Essex.

James Glen, Doanes’ Woods, Woodja Hill

40 acres

James Glen (2 trails), Doanes’ Woods (4 trails), Woodja Hill (3 trails)

Stewards: David Newbegin (860-767-9158), Dirk Samuelson (860-391-2205), Mike Augusta (860-772-7280), Mark Kayfez (860-581-0526)

Access: Hudson Lane, Navy Lane, and Oxbow Lane, Essex.

Johnson Farm

49 acres – 4 trails

Steward: Mark Carroza (860-951-5853) Birds Steward: John Mikstay (917-696-0589)

Access: Reed Hill Road, Ivoryton. Pedestrian access off of Walnut Street, Ivoryton (no parking).

The Millrace

7 acres – 2 trails

Steward: Scott McCoid (860-227-6224).

Access: at Main St./Walnut St. intersection and Ivory St., Ivoryton.

Morgana’s Place

Pocket park

Steward: Wilk Miller (646-618-1906)

Access: Corner of North Main Street and New City Street, Essex.

Osage Trails

8 acres – 1 trail

Steward: Glenn Jacobsen (860-767-0458), David Sistare (860-941-9206). Diz Callender Perennial Garden, Pam Peters (973-809-6832)

Access: Take Maple Avenue off North Main Street., onto Foxboro Point Road, Essex.

Pond Meadow

25 acres – 2 trails

Steward: John Cosenza (860-227-5822), Joell Jacob (401-499-6220)

Access: Park Road, off of Walnut Street, Ivoryton.

The Preserve

923 acres (70 acres in Essex) – trails

Stewards: Myron Stacks (860-510-3458), Todd Samuelson (860-767-7298)

Access: two parking locations on Ingham Hill Road, off of Route 153, Essex.

South Cove & Thatchbed Island

8 acres – No trails

Steward: Paul Greenberg (860-767-7355)

Access: canoe/kayak launch from Essex Town Park, on Main Street, Essex.

Tiley Pratt

9 acres – 1 trail

Steward: Myron Stacks (860-510-3458)

Access: on unmarked Kreis Lane off Laurel Road, Essex; look for Essex Land Trust sign.

Turtle Creek

93 acres (66 in Essex) – Multiple trails

Steward: Dave Gumbart, TNC (203-568-6270)

Access: on Watrous Point Rd., off Route 154, Old Saybrook.

Viney Hill Brook

104 acres – 6 trails

Steward: Frank Hall (860-989-0367), Richard Helmecki (860-767-2219)

Access: Cedar Grove Terrace: passive recreation entrance; Hillside Drive: active, passive recreation and paw park entrance, Essex.

Windswept Ridge

47 acres – 5 trails

Steward: Jeff Croyle (845-323-0039)

Access from 3 locations: behind Essex Financial offices, Route 153, Essex; at end of Windermere Way, off of Mare’s Hill Road, Ivoryton; at end of Windsor Lane, accessed from Edgewood Avenue, off of Main Street, Ivoryton.