A trailhead kiosk greets visitors with an introduction to the preserve and its natural features. In addition, there is a public fishing area and canoe/kayak launch, located at the north end of the Plain Road parking lot.
The Conservancy, RIDEM, and the Town of West Greenwich are working closely together to establish Tillinghast Pond as a top hiking destination. Four interconnected loop trails provide for a wide range of options, from a short walk in the woods to a 10-mile day hike.
The 2.3-mile Pond Loop (blazed white) starts from either end of the Plain Road parking lot. The trail passes over easy, flat terrain around Tillinghast Pond, with ample opportunities to look for wildlife or simply enjoy the long views across the water. An observation platform is located roughly half way around the pond. The Pond Loop also includes three hayfields, which are leased to a local dairy farmer.
The Flintlock Loop (blazed yellow) winds for 2.6 miles through the open woods east of Tillinghast Pond, and is highlighted by a glacial “boulder garden,” a historic cemetery, and an 1830s-era farmstead. Start on the Pond Loop (white blazes) by the kiosk; walk for two tenths of a mile and look for the sign for the Flintlock Trail. The trail is also accessible from the small parking lot on Plain Meeting House Road, via an old farm road.
The Coney Brook Loop (blazed orange) takes hikers through a forest restoration site, past the stone walls of an early 1800s farm, and along the tops of glacial ridges, shaded by hemlocks and beeches. Coney Brook highlights the 2.3-mile route, rushing over a dam and through a small ravine. Start on the Pond Loop (white blazes) from the north side of the Plain Road parking lot and watch for the sign to Coney Brook approximately 500 feet ahead.
The Wickaboxet Loop (blazed blue) connects the Tillinghast Pond and Wickaboxet Management Area trail systems. Combining new woodland paths with old fire roads, the 4-mile trail provides a lot of variety for hikers and features two historic cemeteries and several well-preserved cellar holes. Park at the Plain Meetinghouse Road entrance and follow a farm lane for a half-mile to the trailhead. This trail is also accessible from the Wickaboxet parking lot and the West Greenwich Land Trust’s Pratt Conservation Area, at the end of Saddle Rock Road.
The half-mile Logger's Trail is a rough path through a wildlife restoration area. Seedling trees, pasture grasses, and berry bushes are abundant following a 2010 timber harvest, as are the songbirds that depend on such open habitat. The trailhead is about a tenth of a mile from the Plain Road parking lot, branching off from the Coney Brook Loop.
Trail Map and Guide of Tillinghast Pond Management Area
Please note: The red barn on Plain Road, and the house and garages across the street, are private property. There is no public access on the farm roads that pass next to those buildings.
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.
What to See: Plants
Both parking lots are surrounded by tall white pines, with occasional oaks and red maples. Several tree species are identified along the walking trail. Elsewhere on the property, there are pockets of Atlantic white cedar swamp, rhododendron, and hemlock, with another 60 acres maintained as open hayfields.
What to See: Animals
Birds such as the Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, and Belted Kingfisher are fairly common around Tillinghast Pond during the summer. The property's ponds and wetlands also support beavers, otters, and numerous frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, and damselflies.