In 2009, The Nature Conservancy hired a local logger to clear more than 25 acres of dying oak forest west of Plain Road. The... more » resulting re-growth is a vibrant combination of pasture grasses and native berry shrubs that provide habitat for many birds that are declining across the region.
The half-mile Logger's Trail traces part of the route that the operator used to haul oak and pine logs out of the area, to a landing close to the road. It's still a little rough in places, but intentionally so, as we sought to provide a trail experience not typically found on conservation land in Rhode Island.
The trailhead is less than a quarter-mile from the parking lot, branching off from the Coney Brook Trail. Here, an interpretive panel describes the logging project and its benefits to wildlife. With few trees left to blaze, the route is marked by signposts bearing the oak leaf logo of The Nature Conservancy.
Two early highlights include a hayfield, which is part of Tillinghast Pond Management Area, but leased to a local farmer, and a historic cemetery tucked behind a stone wall. The Allen-Tanner lot was used as a burial place in the mid-1800s, although many graves were later moved to the Plain Meeting House cemetery down the road.
Past the cemetery, the trail drops into a larger clearing, where deer are often seen browsing and hawks hunt from the remaining oak trees. On the north side of the clearing, a bench provides a spot to take in the 4-mile view into Connecticut. The trail concludes at the far end of the hayfield, where it meets the Coney Brook Trail again, coming out of the woods. less «