Fort Hill Farm, part of Sunny Valley Preserve.
Sunny Valley Preserve Fort Hill Farm, part of Sunny Valley Preserve. © Wayne Woodard

Places We Protect

Sunny Valley Preserve

Connecticut

Supporting diverse wildlife and biological communities.

 

Why You Should Visit:
The Sunny Valley Preserve consists of 1,850 acres of farmland, forests, wetlands, and meadows on 19 parcels of land. Visitors can hike on trails and learn about nature, land management, and environmentally compatible farming at several observation sites.

Location

New Milford and Bridgewater

Download our trails map here!

Size
1,850 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The preserve was originally donated by the late George D. Pratt Jr. of Bridgewater in a series of transfers from 1973 to 1979. Its variety of topography, geology and natural habitats supports diverse wildlife and biological communities.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Conservancy has initiated surveys to develop an inventory of the preserve's wildlife and plants. Meanwhile, Sunny Valley's farmland and farm operations remain a focal point of community interest. The Conservancy has returned the preserve's three primary farms to productive agriculture by leasing them to farmers after making significant capital improvements. This investment has paid off with increased local interest in the preserve and support for the Conservancy.

Check out Sunny Valley Preserve on Yelp

Hours
Dawn to dusk; office hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Conditions
About 450 acres of the preserve are in active agriculture, and 1,200 acres consist of natural lands. There are 13 miles of recreational hiking trails and farm observation sites.

What To See: Plants
Sunny Valley Preserve comprises a variety of terrain along both sides of the Housatonic River Valley, including large stands of hemlock and mixed second growth hardwood forest.

What to See: Animals
Migratory species such as the worm-eating warbler, cerulean warbler, northern goshawk and scarlet tanager have found a secure nesting place in Sunny Valley's forests. The preserve's grasslands and a wide range of vegetation also provide habitat for such species as the Eastern meadowlark, bobolink, American kestrel, and Cooper's hawk, which are known to be declining in the Northeast.

Discover the butterflies and moths at the 6-acre butterfly field, which is maintained with plantings to attract a multitude of species. Download the guide to the butterfly field.

Please enjoy your visit to this preserve. The Nature Conservancy welcomes passive recreation, including hiking, birding, canoeing, nature study, butterfly observation and cross-country skiing.

To ensure those who visit after you are able to enjoy the same experience you have, please remember to stay on designated trails, carry out everything you brought in, and contact our office at: 860-355-3716 or lshail@tnc.org if you notice any problems.

To maintain the ecological integrity of the preserve, the following activities are not allowed: collection of plant or animal specimens, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, bicycling, and use of motorized vehicles. We do allow dogs on our hiking trails; all dogs must be on a leash. Please clean up after your pet.

Download our trails map here!