Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day 10: Thomas Pool Memorial Preserve

Rugged forested slopes near the northern end of Prospect Ridge.

Size: 24.0 acres
Nearest Road: Tress Road
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: August 1981
Donor: Percy H. Goodsell

Cheshire's western border with Bethany and Prospect is defined by Prospect Ridge, a north-south trending basalt ridgeline that marks a portion of the boundary between Connecticut’s Central Valley and Western Highlands. To early settlers, the Ridge was known as the "Blew Hills", and on some early maps it appears as the “Devil’s Backbone”.

CLT protects several parcels along the ridgeline, the northernmost of which is the 24-acre Thomas Pool Memorial Preserve donated by Percy H. Goodsell in 1981, in memory of his friend Thomas Pool, a Charter Member and past President of the Cheshire Land Trust. Among other CLT accomplishments, Pool was instrumental in the preservation of Roaring Brook Falls in the early 1970s.

The Pool Memorial Preserve is just north of where the Quinnipiac Blue Trail heads down Cornwall Avenue (in Prospect).  It's bordered to the south by Regional Water Authority water tanks and the State of Connecticut's Bens Homestead open space land, to the west by Tress Road, and to the east by properties along Mountain Road.

A close look at the aerial photo above reveals the property has mostly hardwood trees, with a few patches of cedars that are at the highest elevations. The property features rocky outcrops, steep slopes, and beautiful views of Cheshire and the Hanging Hills of Meriden.  There is over 300 feet of vertical change between the property's lowest and highest spots.  Its top elevations (at over 520 feet) are the highest.points along the Prospect Ridge north of Cornwall Avenue.
Topographic map of Pool Preserve
with 5-foot contour intervals.

Much of the Town of Cheshire's land acquisition program’s early acquisitions (begun in earnest in 1986) focused on Prospect Ridge, where many acres have been purchased through a combination of town and state funds. Additional land, such as the Pool Preserve's 24 acres, have been preserved through donation.  While the goal of a continuous preserved greenbelt along Prospect Ridge has yet to be fully realized, the successes to date are a model for cooperative preservation efforts between the Town, the State, and the Cheshire Land Trust.

The Pool Memorial Preserve is open to the public, but there are no blazed or maintained trails.  The best access is to park at the end of Cornwall Avenue in Prospect (at the Blue Trail) and head north behind the water tanks.  It's steep and rocky - proceed at your own risk!

Do you live next to or near the CLT's Thomas Pool Memorial Preserve?  We'd love to hear about what you've seen on the land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help up protect and maintain these and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

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