Why You Should Visit
The Canonchet Brook Preserve contains some of the best examples of colonial and pre-colonial stone work in Rhode Island, from stone walls to sawmill ruins to an impressive barn foundation.
Five miles of marked trail take hikers across a rugged landscape of steep hills, glacial boulders, rocky outcrops and swampy lowlands. In some sections, large oaks, tulip poplars and white pines that have stood for several generations dominate the forest. Other areas of the preserve were used for agriculture until more recently, and there, a young forest of mixed hardwoods and evergreens is springing up.
Dogs must be leashed at all times. Bowhunting for deer is permitted on portions of the preserve from September 15 to January 31. All visitors are required to wear a florescent orange hat or vest during the hunting season.
The Canonchet Brook Preserve is owned and managed through a partnership between TNC and the Hopkinton Land Trust.
Why the Conservancy Selected this Site
Located near the Rhode Island/Connecticut border, the Canonchet Brook Preserve anchors the southern end of the largest and healthiest coastal forest between Boston and Washington, DC. On nighttime flights, the forest appears as a dark gap in the bright lights associated with the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.
The Canonchet Brook Preserve lies between Rhode Island's Rockville Management Area Connecticut's Pachaug State Forest. Also nearby to the north are TNC's Ell Pond Preserve and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Long Pond Woods Wildlife Refuge.
Canonchet Brook and Tomaquag Brook--both tributary streams to the Wood-Pawcatuck National Wild and Scenic River system--originate in this forest. Their conservation is important to the protection of wildlife habitat downstream.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
In 2020, TNC acquired a 28-acre forested property on Stubtown Road, expanding the Canonchet Brook Preserve and providing additional buffer to the trail system. TNC continues to work with local landowners and partners to conserve land in the Pawcatuck River watershed, focusing large areas of connected forest that allow nature to adapt to climate change.
TNC is grateful to our volunteers and to the Hopkinton Land Trust, Hopkinton Conservation Commission and the Hopkinton Historical Association for their help in developing the Canonchet Brook trail system and interpreting the preserve's historic resources.