WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT
The Whitehead Preserve is like no other place in Rhode Island. Careful, historic plantings of native shrubs and wildflowers host a multitude of birds, bees and butterflies. An easy, winding path circles three farm ponds surrounded by woods and open meadows.
The preserve also includes the Dundery Brook Trail, a fully accessible boardwalk. Built by TNC in 2012, this trail is particularly suitable for younger children and anyone with limited mobility. Forested wetlands, swamps, old fields support a changing variety of wildlife throughout the year, so this trail is well worth getting to know.
Dogs are not permitted at the Whitehead Preserve, due to the sensitive ecology of its wetlands and the confined space along the boardwalk trail.
WHY THE CONSERVANCY SELECTED THIS SITE
TNC has been working to protect the former "Bumblebee Farm" since 2001. It is important for conservation as part of a larger area of coastal farms and forest that support rare plant communities along Dundery Brook. It also supplies clean freshwater to the coastal lagoon ecosystem downstream at Briggs Marsh in Little Compton. Briggs Marsh is important in its own right for its rare shorebirds, wading birds, and resident and migratory ducks.
WHAT THE CONSERVANCY HAS DONE/IS DOING
In 2019, TNC purchased an additional 33 acres of the former Bumblebee Farm, on the north side of the preserve. TNC continues to work with local landowners and partners to conserve land in the Briggs Marsh watershed, focused on limiting development and maintaining the supply of clean freshwater.
The Dundery Brook Trail is constructed of native black locust and designed to withstand seasonal flooding in a forested wetland. The boardwalk provides an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren, including groups from the Little Peeps Montessori Naturskola in Little Compton.