Places We Protect

Aust Family Preserve at Lime Rock

Rhode Island

A trail through the woods with a dropoff to water on one side.
Lime Rock Preserve in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Lime Rock Preserve is laced with trails through a wide variety of distinctive New England habitats. © The Nature Conservancy

A quiet place in the Blackstone Valley for people and nature



Why You Should Visit

Ledges of dolomitic marble produce a special calcareous soil that nurtures 30 rare plant species—more than any other site in Rhode Island. Beautiful ferns and wildflowers grow along ridges of recrystallized limestone. In winter, look for animal tracks in the snow and learn to identify trees and shrubs by their silhouettes and buds. In fall, watch deciduous trees change color and walk along paths carpeted by bright orange and yellow leaves.


Parking for the Aust Family Preserve is limited to a 3-car parking lot at the trailhead and approximately 6 spaces along the shoulder of Wilbur Road. The Town of Lincoln enforces the "no parking" signs. If parking is not available when you visit, two nearby options are Lincoln Woods State Park and Chase Farm Park. 

Why TNC Selected this Site

Lime Rock's unique and abundant plant life drew notable botanists for the last 100 years. Only 10 minutes from downtown Providence, the preserve forms an oasis of tranquility and an important refuge for wildlife in an area that is heavily impacted by development.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

The preserve was created in 1986, thanks to landowners Dorothy and Raymond Houghton, the Plante Family and the Wilbur Family. The Conklin Limestone Company donated mineral rights. Generous support from The Champlin Foundations and numerous individual donors made the protection of Lime Rock a success.




Hiking, birdwatching


130 acres

Explore our work in Rhode Island

The preserve is laced with trails illustrating a wide variety of distinctive New England habitats including woodlands, forested swamps, streams, open water and calcareous ledges. An abandoned electric rail-bed on western edge of the property provides scenic views of the town reservoir. Some trails get wet and muddy. Please stay on the trails to avoid trampling plants and brushing against poison ivy. 

What to See: Plants

Red oak, hickory, a diversity of ferns, red and white baneberry, horse balm, violets, bellwort, nodding trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, trout lily

We hope you enjoy visiting our preserves in any season. We ask that you please observe the following guidelines:

  • Stay on the walking trails, using marked trails wherever they exist.
  • Respect preserve open hours (one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset). Overnight camping is not allowed.
  • Do not ride horses, bikes or any motorized vehicle through preserves or on the trails.
  • Do not disturb bird nesting areas. Between April 15 and September 1, nesting areas may be off-limits to visitors. People or dogs can easily destroy a nest with one misstep.
  • Leave your pets at home, for the safety of the fragile ecology of preserves and as a courtesy to other visitors.
  • Contact our office in Providence to visit those preserves that have restricted public access because of their very sensitive flora and fauna. These places deserve special respect and are best visited only on guided field trips.
  • Do not remove any living materials from a preserve or disturb any vegetation.
  • Remove any trash you create and, if possible, any garbage that you see left by someone else.
  • When visiting Block Island or Prudence Island in the spring, summer and fall, dress in long pants and socks to avoid deer ticks. After any walk on a preserve, it is a good idea to check for ticks when you return home.
  • Be careful! Your safety is your responsibility.

Thank you for your help.