The Church Farm Preserve was donated to Joshua’s Trust in stages by Joe and Dorothy Church Zaring starting in 1985. A larger portion of the historic Church Farm has been given to 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 Registry of Historic Places. Joshua’s Trust maintains trails on the preserve 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 Rt. 89 is wooded and includes a viewpoint atop ledges that in winter provide a vista of the Mt. Hope 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.
More on the Church Farm:
June, 2010 : Joshua’s Trust Hosts Bioblitz at the Church Farm Preserve
May, 2010 :Eastern Connecticut University opening of the Church Farm Center
Dec, 2010, Chicago Tribune: :Church Farm Preserve Offers Views of Mount Hope River
Location: 396 Mansfield Road, Ashford. CT 06278. Route 89 near Mansfield Town Line and Varga Road.
Donors: Joe and Dorothy Church Zaring
Acres: 79.3 protected acres.
Preserved: in stages, in 1985, 1987 and 1998
Stewards: Charles McCaughtry, Bill Darcy, and Karrie & Kevin Kirchner
Trail Map: Click here for the trail map. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view or print our trail maps.
Street Map: Click here for the Google map
Directions: From Mansfield Center, take Rt. 89, traveling past the stop light at the intersection with Mt. Hope Rd. Stay on Rt. 89 until you see on the left the imposing yellow farm house with a pond. The Meadow Trail is on the other side of Rt.89, directly opposite the pond. The Ledges Trail is back on Rt. 89, about 1500′ before the pond, and is marked with yellow blazes.