Sixty-nine acres of what may have been one of Ashford’s original homesteads, the Josias Byles Sanctuary is a 69-acre parcel that was given to Joshua’s Trust in 1988. It was part of the original 226 acre Byles farm bought by Josias Byles in 1726. His son Ebenezer’s house still stands near the southeast corner of the Sanctuary.
In 1988, Filmac Associates transferred the property to Joshua’s Trust, after the Birch Hills Condominiums were developed just to the east.
The property provides a sizeable and key open space between the June Norcross Webster Boy Scout Reservation to the north, and the Mount Hope river to the west. Byles Brook runs east to west through the property, and joins the the Mount Hope River near the northwest corner.
Running north and back again in a big loop, the .9 mile Yellow Trail takes the visitor through the woods, along Byles Brook, to a viewpoint over the beaver impoundments and back again. There is a .4 mile blue-blazed shortcut for those out for a shorter walk, which also loops back to the parking area. The Orange trail, a very short side-trail off the Yellow Loop, takes the visitor uphill to an overlook above a five acre meadow kept in early succession habitat for the benefit of wildlife. An unblazed trail leads through the meadow to the neighboring condominium complex.
About the Property
Location: Ashford, CT
Donors: Filmac Associates of Farmington, CT
Acres: 69.26 acres
Preserved in: 1988
Stewards: Nord Yakovleff, Peggy Rux, Marian Matthews