Why You Should Visit
Peachtree Rock Preserve is named for the large sandstone formation (shaped like an upside-down pyramid) that the visitor sees immediately upon entering the preserve. The rock's strange configuration is a result of the erosion of lower layers of rock and sand, with the upper layers of hard, coarse-grained sandstone eroding at a slower rate. A small waterfall tumbling into a pool, the only cascade in the South Carolina sandhills or coastal plain, is another treasure found here.
Lexington County, near Edmund in the Midlands of South Carolina
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Peachtree Rock Preserve was formerly used as a research site by the University of South Carolina Biology Department. The Conservancy purchased this site because of its geological and biological significance.
What the Conservancy is Doing
Approximately 155 acres was added to the Peach Tree Rock Preserve in partnership with the SC Department of Natural Resources. The Preserve is a now a Heritage Preserve and is co-managed by the SCTNC and SCDNR. In 2007, 74 acres of exotic slash pine was removed and replanted with longleaf pine. Longleaf pine seedlings are being monitored. Prescribed fire was also applied in Spring 2008 to part of the preserve to maintain the diverse flora on site. We get continued help from wonderful volunteers, especially Wayne Grooms, who leads field trips, maintains trails, and identifies rare flora on site.
For more information, please contact: The Nature Conservancy, (803) 254-9049.
How to Prepare for Your Visit
Wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Animals permitted only if on a leash. Please do not touch or climb on Peachtree Rock.
What to See: Plants
Diverse plant communities ranging from bogs to xeric sandhill scrub can be found in Peachtree Rock Preserve. The area harbors a swamp tupelo-evergreen shrub bog and a longleaf pine ecosystem. Typical sandhill scrub vegetation, pines, turkey oaks and sparkleberry bushes are present in abundance on the preserve. The federally endangered Rayner's blueberry is found growing on the seepage slope within the longleaf pine forest.
The visitor can observe moisture-loving plants, including the mountain laurel and the crane-fly orchid. The latter's leaves are visible during winter and spring. The flowering spike, which is 4 to 20 inches tall, appears during September. Near the waterfall several fern communities can be observed, and maple-leafed viburnum grows in abundance here. Sand myrtles, titi and sweet pepper bush dominate the seepage slopes. Two contrasting plant communities can be noted here: the shade and moisture-loving galax, normally found only in cool mountain environments, and Solidago pauciflosculosa, a unique woody goldenrod, which grows on drier slopes.
What to See: Animals
Many different animals lurk amidst the undergrowth at Peachtree Rock Preserve, including Northern red salamanders, skinks, antlions and several species of beetles. In the forest surrounding the trail, the chirping of birds and a flash of wings may reveal a chickadee, titmouse, cardinal, even a yellow-billed cuckoo or red-cockaded woodpecker.