Southbridge, Massachusetts 01550
Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve webpage
Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve map
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The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike at Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve.
About Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve
The forty-acre Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve was purchased by Opacum Land Trust, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy in 2003. It is adjacent to approximately 2,300 acres of watershed land owned by the town of Southbridge.
The protection of this successional woodland was made possible by former owner and Southbridge resident Clyde Thompson. He generously offered the property to Opacum Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy using a conservation option known as a bargain sale, where a landowner sells property to a conservation group at less than fair market value. Mr. Thompson grew up on the farm, which he inherited from his parents, Roger and Elinor Thompson, who bought the land in 1952.
The Thompson Loop Trail is blazed with blue paint, and is about one mile in length. It begins at a small overgrown pasture along Eastford Road, where the sign and kiosk are. This pasture, which harbors stone walls, cedar fence posts, barbed wire and massive old maple trees that line the road, has been cleared of non-native invasive species such as multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, barberry and buckthorn. The trail crosses a small wetland at the rear of the pasture, then makes its way up an incline to an old logging road.
Here, the loop diverges. Going to the left, one follows the logging road. Listen for the springtime sounds of wood frogs and peepers chorusing from the vernal pool off to your right. The trail comes close to the property boundary, turning right and following an old stone wall which flows down a steep hill to a beaver pond. Skirting the edge of the wetland, the trail turns again to the right, and intersects with an access road for the Southbridge Water Supply. The trail follows the property boundary along the access road, and shortly turns to the right, up into the hemlock forest. The path leads back to the old logging road, follow the blue blazes back down the hill to return to the trailhead.
From Thompson Family Forever Wild Preserve webpage