Places We Protect

Lennox Woods Preserve

Texas

Thin trunked trees are obscured by bright green forest foliage.
LENNOX WOODS PRESERVE This old-growth forest provides habitat for many rare species. © Kenny Braun

Lennox Woods is an excellent old-growth woodland, containing fully mature, virgin timber.

Overview

Description

Located just northeast of Dallas, near Clarksville, lies Lennox Woods Preserve—home to some of the state's most beautiful and pristine old-growth forests. The preserve represents one of the few remaining examples of fully mature, virgin timber found in Texas. In fact, the Texas Forest Service aged one post oak on the preserve at over 300 years old and a loblolly pine at nearly 150 years old. Here, some tree trunks have been found to measure more than three feet in diameter.

The 1,335-acre preserve established by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) showcases a range of forest habitats. Its upland forest consists of mixed evergreen-deciduous trees dominated by shortleaf pine, white oak, loblolly pine, southern red oak, red maple and various hickories, while the bottomland hardwood forest is dominated by water oaks, willow oaks, bur oaks, overcup oaks, sweetgum and some hickory species.

The understory includes small trees and shrubs such as musclewood, dogwood, American beautyberry, mulberry and farkleberry. Perennial grasses and sedges are found in clumps along the ground. The mature forest provides habitat for red-headed and pileated woodpeckers, as well as wood warblers in the summer and flocks of Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice and nuthatches in late summer.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hike the preserve's 1.5-mile interpretive nature trail through old-growth forest.

Highlights

Hiking trail, bird watching, wildlife viewing

Size

1,335 acres

Explore our work in Texas

A wooden sign reading Lennox Woods Preserve.
Historic Forest TNC's Lennox Woods Preserve is home to trees pegged to be over 300 years old. © 2022 R.J. Hinkle

Why This Place Matters

The cathedral-like canopy of Lennox Woods likely represents what the undisturbed floodplains looked like in Texas before settlers arrived, providing a window into the past. While most of the woodlands in the area were sold for logging purposes, these woods have been protected for four generations by the Lennox family, who originally acquired the property in 1863. The first 170-acre parcel was donated in 1987 by Martha, David and Bagby Lennox—descendants of Red River County pioneers. Another 206 acres were donated by Martha Lennox and the Lennox Foundation in 1990, following the passing of her brothers; the preserve was dedicated in May of that same year.

The pristine habitat of Lennox Woods offers a vital refuge for several rare plant and animal species. These species rely on the waters of Pecan Bayou, the largest undammed watershed in northeast Texas—and what many consider to have fostered the local return of the black bear. In portions of the bottomland forest that occasionally flood exists one of the few populations of the globally threatened Arkansas meadow rue. The hooked buttercup and Willdenow's sedge, two species that are rare in Texas, also are found here.

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Photos from Lennox Woods Preserve

Discover the diverse plant life and wildlife at this old-growth forest preserve. Tag @nature_tx on Instagram with your photos when you visit.

A view up the trunks of thin pine trees looking at their canopies.
A thick stand of trees with green, orange, and red leaves.
A puddle of water surrounded by fallen yellow, orange, and red leaves on the forest floor.
A pathway covered with fallen leaves and lined with shrubs and trees.
A fallen, uprooted tree lies on the forest floor covered in moss and leaves.
A fallen tree trunk lies covered in vibrant green grass amongst a forest with green, orange, and red leaves.
A shallow creek runs through a ravine lined with dense forest.
A closeup of a brown leaf, about to fall from a thin branch.
A sign reading Lennox Woods Preserve stands in an open area within dense forest.
A fallen tree trunk on the forest floor.
A person stands in a forested area, looking up.
PUBLIC TRAIL Plan your visit to Lennox Woods Preserve and hike the Martha Lennox Memorial Nature Trail—a 1.5-mile interpretive trail through forest and shrubs. © 2022 R.J. Hinkle

What TNC Is Doing

Teams of zoologists and botanists have conducted intensive, seasonal inventories of the preserve's plant, bird, fish, mammal, reptile and amphibian populations to assess the area’s biological diversity and gauge its ecological health. Presently, plant and animal communities here appear to face few threats as long as the watershed remains undisturbed and neighboring woodlands are not further logged—a growing concern as development creeps closer to our remaining natural spaces.

One of the preserve’s most enjoyable features is a looping public trail that allows hikers to admire the various natural communities that make Lennox Woods so special. The 1.5-mile Martha Lennox Memorial Nature Trail provides an otherworldly experience for visiting nature enthusiasts and those seeking a quiet woodland walk alike. Overall, the creation of the preserve has helped ensure that the legacy of these historic woods will be protected forever.

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Visit

  • Access

    More than 350 acres are open to the public from sunrise to sunset, including the Martha Lennox Memorial Nature Trail—a 1.5-mile interpretive nature trail that takes visitors on an easy to moderate, self-guided hike through a variety of habitats.

    The first portion of the trail follows the old Albion Road, a wagon road in use from the 1840s until the 1930s, and then descends through pine and hardwood forest to a tributary of Pecan Bayou. From there, it loops back to the main trail, returning to the trailhead.

    Depending on the season, sights along the trail range from spring wildflowers to spectacular fall color to bare branches against a winter sky. The trail also includes plant-identification signs developed by the Red River Chapter of the Master Naturalist Program.

  • Species

    The red-tailed hawk, northern bobwhite, great horned owl, belted kingfisher, Carolina chickadee, cedar waxwing and the red-headed woodpecker are just a few of the birds common to the preserve. Lennox Woods also harbors a diverse fish population including various crappie, sunfish, perch and shiner. Typical northeast Texas mammal, reptile and amphibian populations can also be found here, such as raccoons, deer, squirrel, armadillo, rabbit, along with various snakes, toads, salamanders and lizards.

  • Directions

    Lennox Woods Preserve is located along State Highway 37 in Red River County, about 10 miles north of Clarksville. 

    Directions:

    • From State Highway 82, take State Hwy 37 North approximately 10.7 miles.
    • Go Left (West) on FM 2118 and travel 1.6 miles.
    • Go Left (South) on CR 2227 near the Negley Community Center.
    • The entrance to the preserve parking lot and trailhead is approximately 1 mile.
    • Follow CR 2227. Bear left on the first unpaved clay road. The preserve entrance will be on your left at the first hard left of the road.
    • Park in the small parking space at the preserve/trail entrance and on the road, leaving room for road traffic.

    *Please note that during wet periods, this clay road may require 4-wheel drive or become impassable; remember to turn around, don't drown.

  • Resources

    View a map of our North Texas preserves and properties, including the Lennox Woods Preserve.