Saturday, November 5, 2016

Day 5: Woodhaven Preserve

Diverse, undulating woodland, wetlands, and streams in a small-scale setting.

Size: 5.70 acres
Nearest Road: Payne Drive
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: November 1972
Donor: Abram Brodach, JB Contractors

The Woodhaven Preserve became the Cheshire Land Trust's sixth property near the end of 1972.  Like several of CLT's other "neighborhood" properties, it is mostly surrounded by residential streets.

Sedimentation (sand) in stream.

Woodhaven is a gently undulating area with a complex mix of uplands and wetlands. Early CLT records provide a brief description of the property:
“The land is wet but water does not stand on it all times of the year. A number of fairly large cedars border the road, but most of the area is occupied by small maples, birches, and other hardwoods. If left alone, it will probably grow into a typical hardwood forest.” - Bert Cran, 1980s
The prediction has, at least partially, come true.  The property still contains many wet areas.  But the stream channels that weave through the parcel look like they’ve probably been scoured (eroded) by changes in water flow that result from upstream roads, driveways, and other impervious surfaces common to residential development.  Sedimentation (road sand and gravelly material) has also ended up in many of the stream channel areas.  Over time, both erosion and sedimentation can have negative affects on water quality and stream health.
Young sugar maples and birch, surrounding horsetail.
The small trees noted by Cran have largely given way to a mixture of both young and mature trees across much of the parcel.  But today’s wooded conditions on the Woodhaven Preserve are not exactly “typical”.  For a property of its size, there is a remarkable diversity of tree species.  Oaks, maples, hickories, birches, hemlock, and pine. Many of the species have at least a few relatively large specimens.  
CLT was also instrumental in saving a large white oak, on an adjacent lot, that was planned for removal when the subdivision was being built.  Nearly 45 years later the tree still stands.
The Woodhaven Preserve is open to the public for exploration, but there are no trails, so explore at your own risk.  To get there, look for a wooded area on the north side of Payne Drive, just west of the intersection with Redstone Drive.  An old CLT sign is posted along the road, in the middle of the property.

Do you live next to or near CLT's Woodhaven Preserve?  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.

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