Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 18: West Cheshire Highlands Preserve

Three wooded sanctuaries in Guinevere Ridge neighborhood, at the north end of Peck Mountain.

CLT's West Cheshire Highlands Preserve parcels are outlined
in green above.  Other open space is outlined in orange.
Size: 16.2 acres
Nearest Road: Guinevere Ridge
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: June 1991
Donor: Pennamco, Inc.

The three properties that make up the West Cheshire Highlands Preserve were donated to CLT by Pennamco, Inc. in June 1991. Together, they contain 16.2 acres.  The neighborhood also contains open space parcels owned by the Town of Cheshire and homeowners associations, creating a somewhat complex mosaic of open space ownership within a relatively small area.

The properties are mostly wooded and contain many sloped/hillside areas, some of which are wet.  The hills containing these slopes and the surrounding homes are the northern end of Peck Mountain, an extention of Prospect Ridge that runs north from West Main Street to the vicinity of the Guinevere Ridge neighborhood.

1992 USGS map showing Peck Mountain 
Since the development of the surrounding subdivisions, these properties have become populated by growing amounts of burning bush (Euonymous alata), a very attractive, but insidious invasive species.  Euonymous will commonly "invade" an area through seed dispersal (by wind, birds, and mammals) from surrounding or nearby yards.  The concern that biologists, ecologists, foresters, and other natural resource professionals have with invasive species such as euonymous is that it will push other species out of an area, and only allow itself to grow.  The result, over time, is a loss of native species and a great decrease in biological diversity.  Animal populations, their habitats, soils, and entire forests can potentially be impacted.

Another item that CLT has encountered with these and several other of its properties is minor encroachments by neighboring property owners.  Due to new property owners, old markings, or simply the passage of time, it is sometimes possible for landowners to lose track of where their property lines are, and then leaf piles, lawns, or even swing sets can be placed on CLT land.  Monitoring for encroachments can be a time-consuming task for CLT, given the number of parcels owned.  If you are interested in helping with our stewardship efforts, please email

Burning Bush (from

The West Cheshire Highlands parcels and other nearby open space parcels have been documented in CLT's records as containing some interesting and diverse vegetative and animal species.  Recent observations on the West Cheshire Highland parcels have noted a possible reduction in the deer population, and an increase in wildflowers, and the area will likely be surveyed in the near future to assess the heath of ash trees, which are largely being removed from Connecticut's landscape by the Emerald Ash Borer.  Other CLT properties are also being examined for this insect, and have been spotted on some CLT land.

The West Cheshire Highlands Preserve properties are open to the public, but there are no trails.  Access is somewhat limited by the configuration of property lines and house lots around the preserved parcels.  Please consult the map above or the Town of Cheshire's online GIS mapping system for details.
Do you live next to or near the West Cheshire Highlands Preserve?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

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