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South Carolina

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve


The End of an Era

On Saturday, December 7, 2013 a hiker observed that Peach Tree rock had fallen off its base. The rock was originally formed by erosion when the waters of the Atlantic receded long ago. The lower layers eroded more quickly creating the upside down sandstone pyramid.   This iconic structure gave Peach Tree Rock Heritage Preserve its name. 

Nature is always changing and evolving. Erosion from rain and other storm events over time continued to erode the base of Peach Tree Rock. This along with the occasional carving from users at the Preserve led to the felling of the rock. The Nature Conservancy and the SC Department of Natural Resources will continue to monitor the rock which remains encircled by a chain fence to deter the public from climbing or carving it. Due to the crumbly nature of the sandstone, it wasn’t possible to keep it artificially held up, and there are no plans to try and change its location or position.   Peach Tree Rock Heritage Preserve is still a wonderful place to visit rich in culture, history, interesting geology, plants and wildlife.

Location
Lexington County, near Edmund in the Midlands of South Carolina

Size
460 acres

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.

Directions

From Columbia:

  • Take Highway 215 (302/Edmund Hwy) south, past the airport toward Edmund.
  • Travel until S.C. Highway 6 veers off to the left towards Swansea.
  • Follow Highway 6 across railroad overpass for 0.5 mile.
  • Turn left onto Peachtree Rock Road after large Bethel United Methodist Church sign.
  • The parking area is immediately on your right.
  • Before leaving the car, make sure it is locked and all valuables inside are hidden from view, as the lot is unguarded.
  • From the parking area, blue and orange markers lead you to the rock.  Then the single orange dots mark a  0.5 mile trail and the single blue dots mark a 1.5 mile trail.
Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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