The Church Farm Preserve was donated to Joshua’s Trust by Joe and Dorothy Church Zaring. Abutting property is protected by Eastern Connecticut State University, which celebrated the opening of the Church Farm Center for the Arts and Sciences in May 2009. Both the house, built in the 1700’s, and the barn, built later in 1895, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Joshua’s Trust maintains trails on both properties that are open to the public.

There are two trail systems on opposite sides of Route 89. To the east the trail takes you through river meadow and floodplains, over boardwalks and close by the Mount Hope River.

The land to the west of Route 89 is wooded and includes a viewpoint atop ledges that in winter provide a vista of the Mount Hope River valley. After a brief uphill scramble, you can choose to take a quick shortcut back home or stay with the longer, 2-mile trail. This longer trail, “The Ledges”, is marked in yellow, and takes you through mixed hardwoods and pine. The highest point of the Ledges is 480 feet above sea level.

About the Property

Location: Ashford, Connecticut
Donors: Joe and Dorothy Church Zaring
Acreage: 79
Preserved: in stages, in 1985, 1987 and 1998
Stewards: Charles McCaughtry, Karrie & Kevin Kirchner

Trail Information

Trail Map: Click here for the trail map. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view or print our trail maps.
Directions: From Mansfield Center, take Route 89 north, traveling past the stop light at the intersection with Mount Hope Road. Stay on Route 89 for 1.1 miles until you see a large yellow farm house with a pond on the left.
Trail Access Points: The Meadow Trail is on the east side of Route 89, directly opposite the pond. There is very limited parking at the trailhead entrance near the Welcome to Ashford sign.
New Access to the Ledges Trail is being created on Varga Road. On Varga Road parking is available on the right 500 feet off Route 89. New trailhead entrance will be 100 feet beyond the parking pull-off on opposite side of the street. There is another trailhead on Route 89 approximately 400' south of the Mansfield/Ashford Town Line sign. Limited pull-off parking can be found on Route 89 a short distance north of the trailhead, opposite side. A third trailhead is located on the dirt section of Varga Road. Take Varga Road from Route 89, at 0.3 miles follow left fork, after 0.3 miles road changes from paved to dirt, entrance is a few yards further on the left. Parking here is very limited.