This large preserve contains a diverse assortment of topographies and wildlife. The east side of the preserve is covered by a series of wetland areas including a red maple swamp, and shrub swamp, a march, a stream, and a series of linked ponds that were formed by earlier gravel mining in Ashford.
To the west of the wetlands, land rises steeply to exposed bedrock ledges, and continues on a more gently slope through an oak-hickory forest with mature trees and a largely closed canopy. The stone walls that dot the forest provide clues to the land’s past life as a pasture, most likely used in colonial times and until World War II. Intermittent streams run from the forest in the west to the wetlands in the east.
The Rankin Property abuts a large town-owned parcel. Both parcels play an important role in protecting a part of the Mt. Hope River watershed, as well as the many wetland habitats associated with it.
As of June 2015 there are no established walking trails on the Rankin Preserve. However, along Rt. 89 at the eastern edge of the property there is an entrance way with a short, easily traversed path that extends south to the pond area. This eastern entrance way on Rt. 89 with signage does allow for parking off the roadway.
Location: Ashford, west of Route 89 and north of Route 44.
Donor: Julie Rankin Trust
Acreage: 81 acres
Stewards: Wally Robinson and Valerie Oliver