Friday, November 4, 2016

Day 4: Tow Path Acres and Cran Memorial Preserve

Tow Path Acres
Narrow forested open space along
Farmington Canal Linear Trail north of Lock 12.

Size: 1.60 acres
Nearest Roads: North Brooksvale Road (Rt. 42)
& Towpath Lane
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: August 1972
Donor: Edward Biafore

Bert Cran Memorial Preserve
Forested open space with massive White Oak
and direct access to the Linear Trail.

Size: 6.80 acres
Nearest Roads: Towpath Lane & Goldenrod Court
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: August 1972
Donor: Irwin R. Sitch

CLT’s neighboring Towpath Acres and Bert Can Memorial properties were both acquired in August 1972.  Both properties were part of the open space requirement of the Towpath Acres subdivision.  They lie on the west side of the Farmington Canal Linear Trail between Route 42 and Higgins Road.  When the properties were acquired, the Linear Trail was still an abandoned railroad line.

Towpath Acres is a narrow strip of forestland paralleling the former railroad. The trees in the northern part are older and larger than those in the southern part and the ground is quite open under them. The southernmost part is a young and rather dense stand of hardwood trees.

The Cran Memorial Preserve was originally called "Oak Farms" by the CLT, but was renamed to honor Herbert Cran, former CLT president and acquisitions chairman; arborist, and landscape architect.  This property is mostly wooded, with a somewhat sizable wetland in its northeast corner.

White Oak on Cran Mem. Preserve
In the Cran property's early days under CLT stewardship, Eagle Scout Jonathan Hale cleared a trail and built two benches under a giant white oak tree that dominates this wooded preserve. The bench area was designed for picnicking, but has seldom, if ever, been used for that purpose. CLT hopes to refresh the trail and benches in the near future. Most Linear Trail users probably do not notice this trail or the property's modest signage, but the large white oak is visible during the winter months.  CLT has had local tree services attend to this great tree periodically over the years.

Both properties are open to the public.  To visit these properties, follow the Linear Park north from Route 42 (North Brooksvale Road).  Tow Path Acres is on the left, immediately north of the road.  It's a very narrow property, so best just viewed from the bike path.  The start of the old trail at the Cran Memorial Preserve is about 1/3 mile north, just before a wooden bridge. A small stone and plaque mark the spot.  The trail is currently unmarked.

Do you live next to or near Tow Path Acres or the Cran Memorial Preserve?  Have you ever spotted the Cran Memorial Preserve's path while on the Linear Trail?  Tell us about what you’ve seen on the land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

Forested area on Cran Memorial Preserve

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